Cioppino (Fish Stew)

I got the idea for this Italian fish stew while reading “The Whistler” by John Grisham. This particular recipe is influenced by Jean Segal’s, “Once Upon a Chef.”

Cioppino (Fish Stew)

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 6 Ts extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 C white wine like Chablis or Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (8 oz) bottles clam juice
  • 1¾ tsps salt
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • 7 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1½ lbs fish fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 Ts unsalted butter
  • 1½ lbs (about 18) littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1½ lbs sea scallops, unshelled
  • 1½ lbs large tiger shrimp or other prawn, peeled and deveined
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • cioppino serving suggestion


    1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

    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. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

    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, 1 teaspoon of salt, red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, 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 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.

    6. When the stew is done simmering, remove 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, scallops, fish pieces and bring the stew back to a simmer; cover and cook until the shrimp, scallops, and fish is just cooked through and the clams are completely open, about 5 minutes.

    7. Serving suggestions: Serve the stew in bowls with proportionate seafood in each and garnish with parsley. Serve with garlic bread, or focaccia. It’s advisable to keep another receptacle to discard shells and such.


    Steve D.

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