Italian Seafood Stew: Cioppino

CioppinoI love dishes that I can just throw in together whatever I have in the refrigerator or freezer without planning and grocery shopping for ingredients. And I always have a variety of wild caught seafood in my freezer, just in case I have days when meal planning is the last thing on my mind. I had frozen shrimp, cod, scallops and squid – all wild caught, from Trader Joe’s.  Did I say wild caught? What I love about them is that they are packaged  in reasonably sized servings so there are no leftover pieces that I have to store. They are perfect portions for our family.

You can find Cioppino recipe anywhere but my recipe is very simple and yet it delivers the same punch. Instruction is very simple. Did I say simple? Basically, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil, toss in celery, then, tomatoes and herbs. When they are tender, take them all out, and saute shrimp, scallops, quid, and cod – in that order – in the same pot in olive oil. Add back the veggies, tomato sauce (I used leftover spaghetti sauce in mine) and use fish broth or kombu broth or chicken broth or even water if you like.

And that’s it.

While soup is simmering, smell the aroma, and slice the Ciabatta or any crusty bread, being careful not to cut your fingers because you are hurrying to eat the soup. And when it’s ready, sop up the broth with some crusty Ciabatta and your world will be at peace again.

Just enjoy Cioppino and forget about the hectic day you had today.

Tomorrow is another day.

By the way, here is a handy dandy printable pocket size National Smart Safe Seafood Guide 2010 on which seafood is sustainable from Food and Water Watch Org

Italian Seafood Stew: Cioppino

All seafood should be wild caught and not farmed – especially from a foreign country. Otherwise, this recipe will be terrible on your palate and you’ll go, “Gah~ What a terrible recipe Karen gave me! Peh peh…..!” and you’ll hate me forever so buy wild caught seafood. Always.

Italian Seafood Stew: Cioppino
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
  • Veggies and Herbs:
  • ¼ Cup EVOO - extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large. Onion - chopped into squares
  • 5 cloves of garlic - crushed or chopped
  • 1 head of celery stalks, chopped leaves and all
  • 2 lg tomato, cubed
  • 1 big sprig of fresh Basil - chopped
  • ¼ tsp. dried Thyme
  • ¼ tsp dried sage
  • 1 /4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • splash of white wine

  • Seafood:
  • ½ C shrimp - any size shrimp will do
  • ½ C Bay scallops - those little guys
  • ½ C sliced squid rings - can be any part of squid but rings are prettier.
  • ½ C Cod - cut in cubes
  • splash of white wine

  • Broth:
  • ¼ tomato sauce
  • 1 C Fish Broth or Kombu
  • ⅛ C of white wine
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Saute onions and garlic in EVOO until onion is translucent
  2. Add the rest of the veggies and herbs.
  3. Continue to saute until celery is translucent and tender. Take them out into a bowl.
  4. Add 2 Tbsp of EVOO to the pot. Add seafood in order, adding cod last and saute. Don't over stir seafood otherwise, cod will crumble.
  5. Add the veggies. Add broth.
  6. When it boils, lower to simmer for about ten minutes.


  1. says

    Yup, I just sat down and wrote out the Christmas cards yesterday so I know just where you’re coming from there. Every year I say I’m either A) not doing cards at all and screw ’em if they don’t understand (!!!) or B) writing them out & mailing the first week of December. And every year I send them out a week or less before Christmas. Funny though the list has shrunk exponentially in recent years as most of us just exchange email greetings now. There are some who would argue its not as personal or heartfelt but it certainly is cheaper if nothing else!

    The soup looks & sounds wonderful :-)

  2. says

    I don’t know if this will help or not, but environmentally speaking, the live tree is your better bet. Since you have grown or grown-ish children, just send them to buy a tree and put them in charge of getting it up and decorated.

    • says

      A live tree is what we’ll end up buying tomorrow. And too bad that we can’t rent a living tree from companies like Living Tree out here on the East Coast because that would be ideal. But until something like that comes along, we’ll buy it from the Fire Department. And I know kids will love to decorate because they love to reminisce about each ornament that they made.

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