tasty nom nom an exception to the daily meal


A Mess of Seafood

Hi E!

Unlike those of us who have spent lots of time in the Bay Area, I didn't have cioppino until 2003 when N made a huge stock pot full of it for a group of us.

This past weekend I had cioppino for only the second time when N made it for game night. Afterwards we all wondered why we don't have cioppino more often! I think it has been decided that it will now be an annual meal.


Cioppino is one of N's family recipes, from his mother's side. He adds his own little twist to it, but he stays true to the family recipe.

First N made fish stock. He simmered coarsely chopped carrots, celery, onion, 3 lb fish bones & parts (lingcod pieces, pacific black bass collar), garlic, black peppercorns, salt (1/2C), bunch of parsley, 4 bay leaves and approximately 2 gallons of water until it reduced in volume about 30% and was very aromatic.

For the cioppino, he made a combination trinity-mirepoix (ha!) with diced bell peppers, onion, celery and carrot simmered in some butter and olive oil. Once the onions became transparent, he added a few cloves of smashed garlic, oregano, a bunch of fresh thyme, and a bay leaf. Shortly thereafter he added canned whole tomatoes, a bottle of dry white wine, a 12oz can of tomato juice, a bunch of fresh herbs: thyme, parsley, oregano, cayenne chili peppers and a tablespoon of cayenne powder. Finally he added about 8 cups of the fish stock and salt and pepper to taste. It simmered for about 3 hours until there was a sheen released to the top of the pot.

At this point N made me taste-test the soup and I worried that it was too spicy and not fishy enough, but N reminded me that all of the seafood had yet to be added.

dungeness death
to your death, so sorry!

Two dungeness crabs (2.5-3lb apiece) were added and steamed for 15 minutes, then removed from the pot. 1 pound each of mussels and littleneck clams were added and cooked for 5 minutes. Finally a pound each of cod fillet cut into strips and 16-count prawns were added and simmered for 5 minutes (until cooked).

N filled our bowls with a massive quantity of seafood and liquid, topping them with fresh parsley, basil and a lime quarter (sad limes!).

prawn in cioppino
prawn in cioppino

The cioppino was delicious and felt extravagant without feeling (too) heavy, maybe because I think it took me an hour to eat half of a dungeness crab! It wasn't overly spicy once all of the seafood was added, thankfully.

Before the cioppino, I wanted to make a light appetizer and decided on edamame.

While N and I were in Hawai'i, we went to a bar one evening and just wanted a little snack with our drinks. We ordered their Truffle Garlic and Togarashi Peppered Edamame and it was delicious. I tried to replicate it at home but unfortunately (for us) it turned out a little too spicy.

(a little too) spicy edamame

I steamed a bag of frozen edamame and held it in reserve while I mixed soy sauce, brown sugar, togarashi spice blend and lemon juice together. Then I quickly sautéed a few cloves of garlic in a touch of butter (instead of making beurre blanc), adding ginger matchsticks once the garlic started to sizzle. Then I added the soy mixture to the pan and once it started bubbling, I added the edamame and stir-fried it in the sauce. After removing it from the pan, I drizzled it with truffle oil and sprinkled it with alaea salt we picked up in Hawai'i.

I think the schichimi togarashi blend I picked up at Uwajimaya was spicier than the one the restaurant used, so I'll try it with less togarashi next time.


By the time we finished eating, it was too late to play a complicated game and the boys pulled out Uno again... Oy. I might have to hide the Uno decks next weekend!

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