Cioppino (Fisherman’s Stew)

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Brimming with fresh seafood in a tomato and wine broth that tastes like the sea, Cioppino is an Italian-American stew.

Ingredients

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2/3 cup finely chopped shallots, from about 3 shallots

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup white wine, such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, etc.

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

2 (8 oz) bottles clam juice

2 teaspoons sugar

1-3/4 teaspoons salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

7 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme

1-1/2 pounds firm-fleshed fish fillets, such as halibut, cod, salmon, snapper, etc., cut into 2-inch pieces

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1-1/2 pounds (about 18) littleneck clams, scrubbed

1-1/2 pounds extra large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Fresh chopped Italian parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

In a large pot, heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more. Do not brown.

Add the wine and increase the heat to high. Boil until the wine is reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes, clam juice, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the salt, red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme sprigs, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, while the stew is simmering, toss the fish with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Arrange the fish on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until just cooked through. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

When the stew is done simmering, remove and discard the thyme sprigs and stir in the butter. Add the clams and bring the stew back to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 6 minutes, until the clams have mostly opened. Gently stir in the shrimp and bring the stew back to a simmer; cover and cook until the shrimp are just cooked through and the clams are completely opened, about 5 minutes. Discard any unopened clams. Add the chopped thyme, then taste the stew and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Divide the warm fish into serving bowls. Ladle the stew over top, dividing the clams and shrimp evenly amongst the bowls. Garnish with parsley, if using, and serve with garlic bread , focaccia , or a baguette for sopping up the broth. And remember a second bowl for shells and plenty of napkins.

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