2020 was such a bad year for a lot us here in Redding and Northern California. Let’s go out on a good note and ring in a kick ass 2021 with some beautiful seafood! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

San Francisco Style Cioppino from the Putah Creek Cafe in Winters, CA

Cioppino Tomato Base:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small serrano chile
1/2 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1/2 bottle good red wine
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
10 cups canned pureed tomatoes, about five 15-ounce cans
Fish Stock, recipe follows

3 whole Dungeness crab legs and bodies, with the crabmeat intact
18 littleneck clams, scrubbed clean
18 black mussels, bearded and scrubbed clean
1 1/2 pounds fresh firm fish, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
12 peeled and deveined prawns (shells reserved for stock)

Fish Stock:
1 pound fresh fish bones, plus the head if you can get it
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1/4 bunch parsley stems
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Shells from the prawns
11 to 12 cups clam juice

Fish Stock:
In a large pot, add all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain, reserving the broth and discarding the solids.

1. For the tomato base: In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the carrots, onions, peppers, and celery, and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chile, herbs, and seasonings and cook until fragrant. Add the wine, vinegar, Worcestershire, and hot sauce and reduce until the liquid is almost evaporated. Add the tomatoes and all of the fish stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain through a fine strainer, discarding the solids.

2. For the seafood: Place the strained liquid into a clean pot and bring to a simmer. Add the crab, clams, mussels, and sea bass, cover the pot, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the prawns and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

3. To serve: Divide the seafood into 6 large bowls and ladle the broth over top. Serve with garlic bread.


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