This hearty, chunky seafood dish is inspired by San Francisco’s famous Cioppino. It can be prepared with various kinds of fish (although a firm flesh is preferable) and shellfish. It depends on what is available on the day and of course your personal choice.
- 500g firm fish fillets
- 500g mixed shellfish (green prawns, scallops, squid, pippi’s etc.)
- 500 g mussels in shell
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ cups dry white wine
- 1 small dried red chilli
- 800g tin whole tomatoes with juice
- 300ml dry white wine
- 1 lit fish stock – make first
- Fresh herbs, basil oregano and thyme – be generous
- Parsley, chopped, to serve
Wash and trim the fish fillets, shell and de-vein the prawns and beard the mussels (discard any that are open)
For the fish stock
Put the fish trimmings and prawn shells into a saucepan,
Add ½ chopped onion, a few celery slices, handful parsley with stalks and about 8 peppercorns. Cover with 1 lit. fish stock, bring to the boil, skim off any scum that appears, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve.
This can be made ahead and also freezes well.
For the soup
Saute the onion and garlic in a mix of butter and olive oil, add the garlic and gently fry until soft and golden.
Add the white wine and bring the heat up to a fast simmer and reduce by half. Add the dried chilli, that has been soaked in cold water to soften.
Now add the basil, oregano and thyme and the fish stock. Season well with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Just before you are ready to serve, start adding the seafood. Begin with the mussels and clams if using. Once they start to open, you can add the prawns and fish, which take only about 5 minutes to cook. Try to avoid stirring the dish too much once the fish pieces have been added as they can break up easily.
Ladle into large soup bowls, sprinkle generously with chopped parsley and serve with plenty of crusty bread.
A traditional accompaniment to any Mediterranean fish soup is rouille which also works very well with this dish.
Serves 6 as a main course
- 4 cloves garlic, halved
- 2 red peppers, roasted and peeled
- 2 fresh red chillies, seeded and cut into chunks
- 1 large potato, peeled and cut into chunks
- Pinch ground saffron
- 500ml fish stock
- 200ml extra-virgin olive oil
Simmer the garlic peppers, chilli, potato , saffron and fish stock until the potato is tender. Strain and reserve the liquid. Tip the solids into a blender with a little of the liquid, and blend to a smooth paste. With the motor running, add the oil in a steady stream. The rouille should be spoonable. Season to taste with salt. Store in the fridge in a sealed container, and use within 5 days.