Cioppino (Fisherman’s Stew)

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Cioppino

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

Brimming with fresh seafood in a tomato and wine broth that tastes like the sea, cioppino (pronounced cho-pee-no) is a rustic Italian-American fish stew. Though the dish originated with Italian immigrant fishermen in San Francisco, my favorite version is served on the opposite coast at Portofino, a charming bayside restaurant in Longboat Key, FL, where we celebrate my dad’s December birthday every year.

When we were there over the holidays, the chef was nice enough to share his recipe with me. To save time, I cut back on the variety of seafood called for (crab, lobster, and mussels would all make wonderful additions). Serve it with garlic bread, focaccia, or a baguette for sopping up the broth — and don’t forget a second bowl for shells and plenty of napkins.

What you’ll need To Make Cioppino

ingredients

How to make Cioppino

Begin by heating 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and for 1 minute more. Do not brown.

onions-and-garlic

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

reducing-wine

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.

simmering-stew

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.

fish-ready-to-bake

Bake for about 10 minutes at 400°F, or until just cooked through. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve. (Note: most cioppino recipes call for the fish to be simmered in the broth but I prefer to bake it separately so that it doesn’t fall apart or overcook.)

baked-fish

When the stew is done simmering, remove and discard the thyme sprigs and stir in the butter.

adding-butter

Add the clams and bring the stew back to a simmer.

adding-clams

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.

adding-shrimp

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.

stew-with-cooked-shellfish

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. Enjoy!

Photo by oursaltykitchen

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Cioppino (Fisherman's Stew)

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

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ⅔ 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
  • 1¾ teaspoons salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 7 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1½ pounds firm-fleshed fish fillets, such as halibut, cod, salmon, snapper, etc., cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ pounds (about 18) littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1½ pounds extra large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Fresh chopped Italian parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the wine and increase the heat to high. Boil until the wine is reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. Meanwhile, while the stew is simmering, toss the fish with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining ¾ 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Make Ahead: The stew — without seafood — can be made 2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator, covered. When ready to serve, bake the fish and bring the stew to a simmer before adding the seafood.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 575
  • Fat: 23 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20 g
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 69 g
  • Sodium: 2327 mg
  • Cholesterol: 287 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • Can I substitute seafood broth for the clam juice?

    • — Debbie on April 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • The taste may be slightly different, but it will work. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 22, 2022
      • Reply
  • I was a little hesitant to make this because I’ve never cooked clams before but wow, it was so delicious!! My husband said it would be a great meal to make for company…. Simple but very flavorful and elegant. Thank you!

    • — Kara on March 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • Wow! So very delicious and flavorful. I changed nothing in the recipe – made as written and it is perfection. I used salmon, rainbow trout, shrimp and clams, and it came out wonderfully. This is a keeper, Jenn, just like every other recipe I have used from your collection. Thank you!

    • — Jackie on February 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • Wouldn’t go through all the expense of making it again..I wanted to love it but lacked flavor for me

    • — Sherry Cummins on February 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Longtime recipe-copier and just generally obsessed reader ☺️. I’ve made your cioppino twice before and both times were a hit. Is it best to make the soup broth the day of? I was considering cutting down on prep time by cooking everything but the fish the day before. Thoughts?

    • — Callie on February 11, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Callie, Totally fine to do everything but the fish the day before – it will likely taste even better. Glad you enjoy the recipes! 🙂

      • — Jenn on February 11, 2022
      • Reply
  • My husband said it best. “This is restaurant quality cioppino!” I have to agree with him. This was such a flavorful dish. I cut the clam sauce in half to reduce the sodium in the dish.

    I did follow the recipe as written and found that cooking the shrimp 5 minutes was way too long. They were definitely over done and had a rubbery texture. The next time, I will opt for about 2-3 minutes instead as the shrimp will still cook in the broth for a bit. AI did use fresh not frozen medium sized shrimp. I think the smaller size probably had a lot to do with it as well.

    Overall, this is a keeper. Thank you Jen! I love your recipes!

    • — Melanie O on January 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • Look no further for a cioppino recipe- this is THE one! Delicious, full of flavor and relatively easy to make, it is great for entertaining because you can prep it all beforehand. I used cod, shrimp, little neck clams and stone crab because thats what was fresh at the seafood counter. Served with gluten free garlic bread and a salad and received rave reviews.

    • — LC on January 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Is this spicy? If I don’t like spicy food, would you recommend omitting the red pepper flakes completely or just reducing it? I don’t want to sacrifice the flavor! Thank you!

    • — Jamie on December 10, 2021
    • Reply
    • It’s really not spicy, but feel free to cut the red pepper flakes in half or just omit them if you’re really sensitive to heat. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • I first had Cioppino in NorCal about ten years ago. Always look for it on menus, but not easy on the East Coast. No more! I made this and it was outstanding! Substituted pan seared scallops for the clams. Was outstanding. Thanks so much for making me a better cook! Jay

    • — Jay on December 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe and it is a favourite for special occasions. I have a dinner guest coming over who is allergic to butter. What would you suggest? Should I prepare her bowl separately?
    Your expertise is appreciated!

    • — Loree Lane on November 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Loree, I would just add the shrimp and clams to the stew and at the end and add the butter after you’ve taken a portion out for your dairy allergic guest. (You could drizzle a little olive oil over hers if you’d like.) Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on December 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • Amazing! Beautiful flavours. Opted for mussels, haddock and scallops (shellfish allergy) and this turned out beautiful and tasty. Thanks Jen 💜

    • — Lianne on November 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Turned out great! I was a bit a confused at the part where it said to return to a simmer. I’m a novice when it comes to cooking, so I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to increase the heat to get it bubbling again and then decrease the heat to keep it at a simmer OR if I was just supposed to wait it out? Whatever I did must have been fine because it tasted great and got props from my bf!

    • — Diana on November 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad it turned out well! If the mixture doesn’t start to simmer again shortly after you put an additional ingredient, you can increase the heat slightly to help bring it to a simmer. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on November 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • A lovely, elegant dish – came together quickly. Packed full of flavour!
    LMRM

    • — Lorraine Rossi Marier on November 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hello! Really excited to make this but can’t find clam juice where I live. What would be the best substitute without having to make homemade stock?

    • — Selina on October 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Selina, I haven’t tried it, but I suspect you could get away with replacing the clam juice with vegetable broth. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on October 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • I’m going to make this tonight for my husband’s birthday. I want to add scallops too as that is one of his favorites. Should I cook it separate in the oven or should I cook in the broth? What would be the appropriate amount of time to cook it? Thank you.

    • — Chris on August 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Chris, I would cook them with the fish in the oven; the cook time should be about the same. Happy birthday to your husband!

      • — Jenn on August 23, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thank you!

        • — Chris on August 23, 2021
        • Reply

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