Spicy, tomato-based seafood soup; A winter treat
My mother made us cioppino growing up. It was a winter treat. Hot, spicy and ridiculously flavorful. Why did it take me ten years to get her recipe? There’s no excuse. This spicy seafood soup is absurdly easy. Plus it has fed me for six days!
Here’s the Life is NOYOKE version of my mother’s cioppino recipe.
Cioppino is easy
Cioppino is a tomato-based, seafood stew. There are three basic ingredients:
- White wine
And if you saw my mother’s recipe card, there’s also “lots of seasonings.”
Most cioppino recipes call for seafood like shrimp, mussels and clams. I’ve had it that way and it’s delicious. But, I made this cioppino recipe with just white fish. Why? Few reasons:
- Normal cioppino isn’t technically kosher. Shellfish are bottom feeders and therefore off-limits. Of all the kosher rules, I think this one is most ridiculous.
- Normal cioppino is expensive. Getting fresh shellfish is not cheap.
- Normal cioppino is not easy to make. Getting the shell fish home, cleaned and cooked perfectly takes time and practice.
So I made it with just fish. And it turned out to be:
- Very inexpensive.
- Very easy.
- Very, very good.
I made it perfectly on my first try. It’s almost impossible not to. Plus, the cleanup was surprisingly simple. This is a five star recipe that is now a staple in my winter home. Enjoy.
Hot, spicy and ridiculously flavorful. A true winter treat.
- onion - 1 chopped
- tomato paste - 6 oz can (most of it)
- diced tomatoes - 28 oz can (all of it), or equivalent fresh if you're feeling saucy
- vegetable broth - 4 cups (i used one full box from trader joes)
- bay leaf - 1 (optional)
- white wine - 1 1/2 cups (half bottle) of the dry stuff
- fish fillets - 2 lbs (i used trader joe's frozen tilapia and golden tilefish)
- extra virgin olive oil - couple tablespoons
- salt & pepper
- crushed red pepper
- garlic - fresh is best
- Chop onion.
- Mince garlic (or just use garlic powder).
- Cut fresh (or defrosted) fish into bite-sized cubes.
- Place dutch oven (big soup pot) on medium heat.
- Simmer onion for in e.v.o.o. for 10 minutes or until translucent.
- Add everything else but the fish.
- Let it simmer for 30 minutes on medium heat.
- Stir occasionally. It should bubble and allow flavors to mesh.
- Add (uncooked) fish.
- Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes
- Add more crushed red, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Be warm, spicy and happy.
Useful tips for Cioppino
Cioppino is pronounced “cha-PEE-no.” Making it requires very few useful tips. It’s basically, “Throw it all in a big pot and wait 30 minutes.”
I figured out how to chop onions without crying. I used my Vitamix. Literally threw it in and mixed on low for 5 seconds. Perfectly chopped onions. If you 'chop by hand, don't chop the pieces too small. They're nice to see in your spoonful of soup.
Dry white wine is secret number one. Here's what I used for tomatoes, wine, bay leaves and vegetable broth.
Crushed red pepper is secret number two. Don't be shy with it. The spicier the better.
The fish will cook in five minutes. Ten at the most.
This recipe makes a ton. Bring it to work. Your colleagues will be jealous. Just have patience microwaving it. It's thick, so takes a few minutes.