Quick Fish Stew

I just read a recipe for cioppino that recommended sauteing onions and garlic, adding tomatoes, and then simmering for two hours before adding the fish at the last minute. What possible purpose could that serve?

How to make cioppino:

A great one-pan hot winter meal, ready in about half an hour and suitable for company. To serve to company, start an hour before dinner by making bread, and then when the bread is in the oven start the cioppino.

In a medium-size frying pan, heat 1/8 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Chop an onion and saute it in the oil. Meanwhile, crush five cloves of garlic and add them to the pan too. When the onions and garlic are soft and a little bit browned, add two cups of tomato sauce, a cup of thawed leftover chicken soup (or you can just thaw the soup right in the tomato sauce), and a cup of white wine. Chop half a head of cauliflower into small pieces and add them to the sauce. Add one bunch of chopped parsley (pull the leaves off the stems), and a teaspoon of dried oregano.

Simmer for ten minutes or so, until the cauliflower softens, and then add – in this order – 1/2 pound of cod chopped into chunks, 1/4 pound of crabmeat, 1/4 pound of tiny cooked shrimp, and one pound of fresh clams with the shells on. (Or use any other combination of seafood.) Cook about five or ten minutes more, until the clams open up, and the cod is opaque and not translucent, and then serve hot with the fresh bread on the side.

This stew is solid enough to serve on dinner plates, but if you like it more soupy add more chicken broth and wine, and use soup plates. We like cioppino with sauteed spinach or a green salad on the side.

Can I keep this for later?

Sure. Put the leftovers in a tupperware in the refrigerator, and the flavors will blend and it will be even better than it was at first. You can reheat it for a couple of days. Serve with the leftover bread, or over polenta.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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