After teasing so many people when buying my ingredients, I bet y'all want my recipe.
I don't have an official recipe. Ciopino is much like gumbo, chili, or meatloaf. There are tons of varieties and the end result can vary due to ingredient changes. Here is my usual ingredient list, which may be modified without notice.
This time, I wanted to stretch it and made more of a broth base than a thick soup base. But it was still wonderful as the taste is entirely dependent on the quality of the ingredients.
Heavy stockpot with lid, pot to steam clams/mussels, knives, wooden spoon, ladle.
1 whole dungeness crab. Shell on.
1 lb raw large prawns, tails on.
1 lb raw bay scallops (cause sea scallops are way too expensive for this)
2 lbs fresh Manila or savory clams, scrubbed
1/2 to 1 lb mussels, scrubbed
2 lbs firm white fish (rockfish or cod is best)
3 small onions, chopped
5 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
Vegetable or chicken stock (Vegetable stock seems to let the seafood shine a bit better)
1 bottle of clam juice (or make your own)
2 cans whole plum tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste (use less if you want a more brothy base)
1/2 lemon sliced
Red Pepper Flakes
Ground Black Pepper
Dry white wine or Dry red wine (i have tried using both. Use white if you want a brothy base, use a red if you want a rich hearty soup base)
Parsley - chopped
Prep the veggies, set out other ingredients.
In a heavy bottom stock pot, add the onion, garlic and celery and sweat until onions become translucent. Add 1-2 cups of wine, cans of tomatoes with juice, and bring to a boil then reduce by half.
**Some would say that only the garlic should be sweated and the wine. But this is my way. :)
Next, clean the crab by removing the shell, and breaking body in half, then half again. Clean out the crab innards and keep the shell.
Remove shells from prawns, and scrub mussels and clams.
By this time you should be ready to add the desired amount of tomato paste, the clam juice, dash or two or Worcestershire, shake of red pepper flakes, herbs, squeeze of lemon juice, salt, pepper and some stock if needed (1-2 cups) then let cook with a lid on over medium for 20 minutes.
Steam open the mussels and clams in a separate pot with some lemon and garlic. Once they open, remove from heat.
Drop into soup pot: Crab bodies, then fish, scallops, prawns, and then crab shell. Replace lid on the pot to maintain the heat, allow 5-10 minutes for the seafood to cook.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Remove lid and drop in clams and mussels. Turn off heat and let sit another 5 minutes.
Put sourdough in the oven to warm for 5-7 minutes.
Take down some bowls, add some parsley to the bowls, scoop big portions of ciopino into the bowls.
Remove the sourdough, cut into large 2" pieces, and serve immediately.
PS - for any extra, once cooled completely - remove the clam and mussel shells, put into freezer safe containers, label and enjoy during a cold winters night. Keeps well for a year. To reheat, add 1 cup of vegetable broth to a stock pot and bring to a boil, then add the frozen portion and bring to a simmer.