For the freshest fish in Minnesota, you go to Coastal Seafoods. I got there at about 4:00 pm on Saturday. They were sold out of a lot of things, but I was fortunate to come home with some little sweet clams, shell-on tiger shrimp that were the daily special, and their last piece of monkfish, which was recommended to hold up pretty well in a stew.
This Cioppino started with a batch of homemade stock (you could substitute store-bought if necessary). Two large frozen gallon bags of vegetable scraps went into a giant stockpot filled with water and shells from the shrimp from Coastal Seafoods. I let this simmer for an hour.
In another soup pot, saute a ton of aromatics in some butter and olive oil. I had onion, garlic, fennel, and leeks. When soft, add a can of diced tomatoes, some white wine, and 4 cups of the stock. After this has simmered together for awhile to let the flavors mingle, bring to a boil and add your clams and/or mussels. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until the shells open. Add shrimp and fish, turn off heat, and let sit covered for another 5 minutes.
I couldn't decide which part of this Cioppino I liked the best: the monkfish, the clams, or the shrimp. All three were absolutely top quality and cooked perfectly. The fish was firm and meaty and mild, the clams were sweet and tender, but the shrimp was the best: savory, buttery, and perfect.
Although I'm not actually a doctor, I'm pretty certain this meal has cured the common cold. I have anecdotal evidence. So, there's that. Plus it tastes great and is incredibly good for you.
Makes 2 very large servings
4 cups fish stock (homemade if possible)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 yellow onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 bulb fennel, diced (reserve fronds)
2 leeks, sliced and cleaned
1 cup white wine
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (San Marzano style recommended)
1 lb small clams, cleaned
1/2 lb shrimp, cleaned/shelled/de-veined
1/2 lb firm fish such as monkfish or halibut, cut into large pieces
juice of half a lemon
salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to taste
In a large soup pot, melt butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, celery, garlic, and leeks and season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, wine, and stock. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Bring to a boil and add clams. Cover and cook 5 minutes, or until clams open (discard any that don't open). Add shrimp and fish, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until shrimp and fish are firm and cooked through.
Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the stew and serve with crusty grilled bread rubbed with garlic.
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