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Cioppino

August 17, 2017

By Chef Thomas Kaylor.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra to finish the dish
  • 1 fennel bulb, tops removed and diced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced; one extra for bread (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 28oz can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc works well)
  • 1.5 cups shellfish stock (either homemade or store bought clam or fish stock)
  • 2lbs mussels, scrubbed and beards removed using a damp towel
  • 4 6-8 ounce wild lobster tails split in half
  • 24 wild shrimp
  • 2 8-oz portions of wild halibut or wild cod
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • 8 small whole parsley leaves (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped basil leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 baguette cut in half lengthwise then cut into quarters or a small loaf of sourdough bread cut into ¾-inch slices
  • Unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Flaky sea salt

Preparation:

  1. Dice the onions and fennel and reserve in a bowl together. Slice the garlic and store separately. Chop the parsley and basil and reserve together in a small dish.
  2. Using a 4-6 quart pot, heat ¼ cup olive oil over high heat. Add onions and fennel. Season with a small pinch of kosher salt.
  3. Turn the heat to medium and sweat for 8 minutes or until translucent and tender. Add the garlic and bay leaves and cook for an additional 2-minutes until the garlic is translucent.
  4. Stir in chili flakes and oregano; continue to sweat for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the white wine and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the pot. Reduce the wine by ½ to cook out the alcohol. Add the tomatoes. Stir all of the ingredients together and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. (The broth can be made 1 day ahead of time and chilled in the refrigerator without a lid. Once chilled, cover the broth)
  6. While the broth cooks, peel and devein shrimp using small scissors or a small knife. Place the mussels in a large bowl and run cold water over them.
  7. Quickly scrub the outside of the mussel shells and use a damp towel to remove the beard from the flat edge of the mussels.
  8. Discard any mussels that have broken shells and won’t stay shut. You can close any open mussel shells for 5 seconds, if they don't move or stay closed then they are dead and need to be discarded.
  9. Using a large chef knife split lobster tails in half lengthwise and remove the meat from the shells, reserving the shells for shellfish stock (they can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months). Cut the lobster meat into bite sized pieces.
  10. Cut the baguette or sourdough bread and place on a sheet tray.
  11. Uncover the broth, taste and season with kosher salt (if the broth was made the day before place it in the pot and return to a simmer over medium heat).
  12. Add the cleaned mussels and cover. Cook  for another 6-8 minutes (after cooking for 5 minutes, check mussels every minute to see if they have opened).
  13. Once the majority of mussels have opened, discard any mussels that are still closed and stir the pot. Add the diced lobster meat and cover. Cook for 1.5 minutes. Uncover and add the halibut or cod and the cleaned shrimp and cover. Cook for 2.5 minutes, uncover the pot and turn off the heat. Stir in the chopped parsley and basil.
  14. Turn the oven broiler on high.
  15. Brush the bread with the softened butter and place on the top rack of the oven. Cook the bread for 1.5  minutes and rotate the tray 180 degrees. Cook for another 1.5 minutes or until the bread is golden brown around the edges.
  16. Remove the bread and vigorously rub the top of each piece of bread with the raw garlic clove. Drizzle olive oil (2 Tablespoons) over the Cioppino and sprinkle the sea salt or fleur de sel on top. Garnish the dish with parsley leaves and fennel fronds and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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