I thought, since I’m sitting around waiting for my burn to heal, that I might share my most recent Mediterranean twist on Cioppino since you were kind enough to share with me all your tasty ideas for mixed fish!

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This is one of the dishes I’ve made for Family Meal at the restaurant using mixed fish scraps. We go through anywhere betweeen 500lbs to 800lbs of fish a day and it is butchered on site, so you can imagine that fish stew is a meal we have over and over and over.

Why does stew sound like ‘eeeeewwww’? It’s totally not.

You really don’t need a recipe for Cioppino – there’s no real right or wrong about it. I have guesstimated this dish more times than I care to admit and never been wronged. Canned whole tomatoes, onions, garlic, lots of white wine, herbs, mixed fish, and a few bright veggies over the top.


And it can be expanded to feed 50 hungry cooks or just a small army of 2.

If I’m making San Francisco Cioppino I don’t add the extra veggies over the top and I usually simmer everything in a big pot with dungeness crab.

But here, it’s just as easy to cover the fish with the tomato broth and bake it. Minus the dungeness crab (boo hoo!)

It is a truly wonderful thing, when sitting over a big bowl of Cioppino, to breathe in the steaming tomato white wine broth that has harmoniously blended with the all the fish juices creating the best bread-dipping sauce of all times and then dive in with fork and spoon in search of chunks of fish, shrimp, and who knows what else.

Go fish!

Click on “Coninue Reading” for recipe…

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Mediterranean Cioppino
Serves 4


1 28oz can of whole canned tomatoes
1 15oz can of tomato sauce
1 cup dry white wine (more if you want, I always add more)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried basil and dried oregano
4 springs fresh thyme
Mixed fish: you can use beautiful fillets or scraps. Figure around 1 1/2lbs of fish for 4 persons. Preferably white. I used halibut fillets for this recipe.
1/2 lbs. shrimp, peeled deveined
1/2 lbs. mussels, scrubbed
1/2 cup mixed pitted olives (niçoise, kalamata, etc)
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, dided
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Crusty bread for dipping

1. Preheat oven to ˚400F
2. In a large pot on medium-high heat 2 T of olive oil and sweat the onions and the garlic until translucent, about 2 minutes. Don’t burn.
3. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Add dried herbs. Break apart whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
4. Add white white wine and bay leaf. Simmer for 15 minutes more, until the tin flavor of the tomatoes disappears. Before adding to fish, season with salt and pepper.
5. Arrange fish in a large baking dish so that is doesn’t touch. Season fish with salt. Pour tomato-wine broth over fish and scatter olives decoratively. Place sprigs of time over dish, wrap with tin foil and bake for 10 minutes.
6. Take out cioppino and add mussels and shrimp. Rewrap with tinfoil and bake for another 5 – 7 minutes or until fish is tender. Spoon fish into large bowls with lots of broth.
7. Meanwhile sauté on high heat the zucchini and yellow pepper with 1 T of olive oil until al dente. About 1 minute. Pour veggies over cioppino decoratively.