My Southland Cioppino is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the San Francisco classic. Don’t be fooled, it may look similar to its cousin up north, but this version is packed with flavor and a little heat from the addition of chipotle and chorizo. Locally sourced squid, shrimp, and fish promote our local fisheries while giving it a Southland twist. The dish is finished with aioli to balance the heat and fresh lime juice and cilantro to brighten the flavors just prior to serving. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did creating it.
For Fish Stock
2 medium onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1medium parsnip, chopped
1/2 head garlic, cloves peeled and smashed
1 750ml bottle of white wine that’s not too sweet or acidic
6 cups water
2 lbs fish bones and heads chopped into chunks (red snapper works well)
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt (less if you use regular salt)
2 small onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped with seeds
1/3 cup chopped basil
3 ½ pounds stewed tomatoes in juice, crushed
1 tablespoon minced anchovy
2 pounds local halibut or sea bass cut into 2 oz pieces
3 pounds live Manila clams
1 pound Spanish chorizo
1.5 pounds large wild Mexican white gulf shrimp
2 pounds pork belly, ½”x 3”
2 live Dungeness crab
8 small local squid
1 handful of fresh thyme
1 large fresh oregano sprig
1 small can chipotle in adobo
1 bunch cilantro for garnish
1 cup aioli for garnish
Remove the heads from the shrimp as well as the legs and shells, but leave the tails on. Set the shells aside for the stock, and then devein the shrimp.
To Make Stock
Remove the legs and claws from the crab by twisting and pulling. Remove the little flap on the underside of the crab then pry the top shell away from the body, reserving for the stock. Use a wrench or nutcracker to crack the legs and claws. Cut each body into 4 segments. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat a large stockpot over medium heat until hot. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil then add the onions, celery, leek, and garlic. Fry until soft, fragrant and starting to brown around the edges. Add the wine and turn up to heat to bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes to burn off the alcohol then add the water, fish bones, shrimp heads/shells, the top shells of the crab, thyme, oregano, parsley, bay leaves, and salt. Bring this to a boil and skim off any foam that accumulates on the surface. Once there is no more foam forming, turn the heat down to medium low, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
Strain through a colander and press on the solids with a potato masher to get every last bit of stock out. Discard the solids.
To Make Cioppino
Rinse the pot, place over medium heat and add a splash of oil. Fry the onions and garlic until soft and fragrant, then add the tomatoes and basil. Return the fish stock you made to the pot along with the crushed, stewed tomatoes and anchovy, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low then add the crab*, snapper, and clams and cover the pot. Let this simmer until the clams are open and the fish is cooked (about 10 minutes). Add the shrimp and continue cooking until the shrimp just turn pink (another minute or two).
Serve the Cioppino in large bowls with some cilantro to garnish, a slice of toasted crusty sourdough bread and aioli.
For more recipes from Ben Ford, pick up his cookbook here.