We spent a week in Santa Barbara, California recently, visiting wineries, dining out, and generally enjoying the heck out of ourselves.
Back at home, I was looking through the freezer and noticed a bag of mixed seafood; scallops, shrimp, and calamari alongside a bag of frozen mussels. I immediately thought of cioppino, the spicy seafood stew so popular out there, and set about looking up recipes…
I found, a lot, and many with interesting, unexpected ingredients, like…
In fish stew?
Still, I am nothing if not a risk taker, and, I just so happened to have had a coupon for this “Better Than Bouillon” stuff, so I grabbed my bags o’ frozen fish, looked over my recipes again, and came up with a plan…
•3 tbsp olive oil
•2 cups sweet onion, diced
•1 cup celery, diced – go ahead and use those leafy tops, too
•3 tbsp minced fresh garlic
•1 tsp dried oregano
•1 bay leaf
•1 tsp red pepper flakes
•1 tsp coarse sea salt
•1 pint salsa – I used home made from a friend – THX, Barb!
•14-1/2 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
•4 oz diced pimientos, drained
•Sliced black olives
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce
•1 tsp dried thyme
•1/2 cup white wine
•2 cups beef stock
•2 (6-1/2 oz) can chopped clams, drained (save the juice)
•1 lb bag frozen mixed shrimp, scallops, and calamari
•1 lb bag frozen mussels
•2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
•Freshly chopped parsley
Cook onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and sea salt in the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until the veggies are tender and starting to brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the salsa, tomatoes, pimiento, black olives, Sherry Peppers Sauce, and thyme and cook for five minutes.
Add the wine and the beef stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Stir in the clam juice (the juice from two drained cans of clams should be about one cup) and cook for another five minutes.
Give it a taste and add a bit of salt or pepper, if you think it needs it – mine didn’t, what with all the other stuff AND the canned clam juice – but, you do what you want.
Stir in the frozen seafood and cook for five minutes.
Stir in the drained canned clams and cook for another five minutes, until the frozen seafood is cooked and the cioppino is nicely heated through.
Stir in the lemon juice, sprinkle with the fresh parsley, and serve with crusty bread.