San Francisco Cioppino – Classic Cioppino (seafood stew, pronounced chow-peen-o) was originated by the Portuguese and Italian crabbers from San Francisco Bay. It is based on live Dungeness crab but can be made with already cooked crab too. Serve it with fresh warm sourdough bread with sweet butter paired with a cold bottle of Chardonnay, and don’t forget bibs for all. Serves 4-6.

First of all you need to cook and clean your crab.

  • 1 large live Dungeness crab, around 2.5 lb.
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 leek (only the white part) minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons each minced fresh basil, thyme, and oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried each)
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced (to peel a tomato easily, plunge it into boiling water for 10 seconds or so and then plunge into ice water)
  • 1 can (20 oz) tomato puree
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 12 small clams
  • 1 pound rockfish, ling cod, halibut, or rock shrimp
  • 12 mussels, de-bearded, only if you like mussels
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Sauté, in a large soup kettle, carrot, leek, onions and celery in oil until limp. Add garlic, basil, thyme, oregano, tomatoes, tomato puree, clam juice and wine and simmer 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Scrub clams and mussels well under cold running water with a stiff-bristled brush. Add clams, diced fish or rock shrimp (or both), mussels (if you are using them) and crab to kettle and simmer 15 minutes.

Ladle fish and shellfish along with broth into large bowls and sprinkle with parsley.