Cioppino with Northern Pike
A recipe shared by Tim Kraskey of Maple Grove, Minnesota
Some people call it “fish stew”, and it is considered an elegant dish in many circles, but the roots of true Cioppino lead back to Italian immigrants who settled near San Francisco in the late 1800’s. The story goes that when a fisherman came back empty-handed, they would walk around with a pot asking other fisherman to share what they could from their catch, and the bounty of the sea was transformed into a hearty dish thanks to tomato and fresh herbs.
While you will need to source some of these ingredients at the seafood counter of your grocery store, anglers across the Great Lake States have Northern Pike to fit the bill for the “firm fish” this recipe calls for. Invite some friends over and enjoy Tim Kraskey’s recipe for Cioppino.
(Tip – scroll to the bottom for tips on selecting the wine to use in this recipe!)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, chopped into small slices
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 stocks celery, chopped
2 small/medium shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups dry white wine, (e.g. Pinot Grigio)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 cups seafood stock
2 bay leaves
½ tsp of red pepper flakes
1 Tbls chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, Italian parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
Seafood Options (Use 4-5 items below):
8-10 medium uncooked shrimp, deveined
1 lb. firm fish, (e.g. Halibut, Cod, Northern Pike)
3 6-8 oz. lobster uncooked tails
8-12 medium scallops
1 lb. mussels
½ lb. clams
In a large sauce pan or Dutch oven on medium-high heat oil to temperature. Sauté onion, fennel, shallots and celery. After it becomes translucent add garlic for 2 minutes.
Add wine, tomato paste, stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, thyme and salt & pepper to taste. After it comes to a boil turn heat to low and cook for 2 hours covered.
Start to add seafood in layers 30 minutes before ready to eat. The longest cook times like the fish add first and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add lobster and scallops for 2 minutes. Add shrimp; mussels and clams. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the mussels and clams open.
Before serving add basil and parsley check salt & pepper to taste – stir and serve.
Server with warm crusty bread.
Yield: 8-10 servings
Hint from the kitchen: If you’ve never cooked with wine, the reason it would be used is to add acidity to your dish and a beneficial flavor profile. Avoid strong, oaky white wine like a Chardonnay, and we would also recommend that you steer clear of overly sweet white wines that can caramelize during cooking, such as a Moscato. Tim suggests a Pinot Grigio for his recipe, and you will find this drier white wine to be a reasonably priced and versatile cooking ingredient.