It's in the mid-eighties today in Los Angeles (I know, please don't hate us too much) and it's difficult to think of what to say about fish stew when I'm craving summer treats like coconut milk ice cream and beach days.
Still, I know most people are experiencing the winter temperatures more typical of February. If that happens to be you, or if you need to drown your sorrows after not winning the Powerball jackpot, then perhaps this stew is just what you need.
Traditionally an Italian holiday dish, Ciopinno is the perfect winter stew to give you that warm, comforted feeling without weighing you down with heavy meats or cream-based broths.
I make the whole process easier on myself by using a premade base from Santa Monica Seafood. I use whatever seafood looks freshest or seems easiest - usually the same mix included in the recipe below: shrimp, mussels, clams and a firm white fish. You can get creative and try throwing in octopus, squid or oysters.
One final suggestion for making things easy on yourself - grab those frozen packs of pre-cleaned mussels and/or clams. They're frozen when super fresh and you don't have to go through the tedious process of cleaning clams or debearding mussels.
Super glam, impressive dish, that comes together nice and easy.
2 28 oz containers of Cioppino Base
2 8-oz bottles of clam juice
1 lb white fish such as sea bass
1 lb mussels
1 lb clams
1 lb large shrimp
Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Pour the clam juice in the pan and once steaming hot, add the clams and mussels, cover the pot and let the mollusks steam open. Shake the pan a few times to move everything around and make sure they're cooking evenly. Discard any that do not open.
Add the Ciopinno base to the pan, bring to a simmer and allow to reduce slightly over gentle heat. When the desired thickness is reached (make it as thick as you like) add the fish and shrimp and cook until just opaque.
Serve with crusty, buttered bread.