December 23, 2010


Trader Joe's is hands down my favorite grocery store. After leaving California when I was five to move back to Virginia, my family greatly missed our best friend Joe. Over the years though, they've expanded their stores and moved over here to the East coast- we couldn't have been happier. Finally, the blue corn tortilla chips, bruschetta, gourmet cheeses, cat cookies, and the infamous 2 buck Chuck among other family favorites. Last time I was there with my mom though, I was wondering around the frozen food aisle and stumbled upon an odd shaped bag, seafood mix? What is that?

It was a perfect find, that's what it was. Shrimp, scallops, and calamari. It was basically begging me (well my mom) to buy it and make chioppino, which I have wanted to make for years but have never had all of the ingredients at the same time. Us Arquiettes love our seafood, so it tends not to remain in the house very long.

BOY was I glad I found that. This fish stew is the perfect way to end the day. Hearty, warming, comforting, and surprisingly very healthy, it's the ultimate dinner after a cold, windy, winters day.

Adapted from Gourmet, March 1994

For cioppino
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed rep pepper flakes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 bay leaf
one 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, pureed slightly
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound scallops
1/2 pound calamari
2 fillets of flounder, cut into 1inch pieces
1 can of clams with juice
fresh parsley for garnish

For croutons
4 slices day old white bread
1/4 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Make Cioppino:
In a large pot (I used my favorite Le Cruset dutch oven) heat the oil over medium heat. Add in the garlic and onion, stirring until the onion is pale golden. Add the red wine vinegar and boil until evaporated. Add the red pepper flakes, wine, oregano, and bay leaf and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and tomato paste and bring the mixture to a boil.

Upon reaching a boil, add in the shrimp, scallops, calamari, flounder, and clams with juice and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until all of the fish is cooked. While the cioppino is coming together, make the croutons.

Make Croutons:
Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and preheat the oven to 450F. Cube the bread sizes into 2 inch squares and place on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil evenly over the cubes, and sprinkle over salt and pepper. Top them off with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.

Assemble Cioppino:
When the Cioppino is ready, ladle into bowls, top with the hot croutons from the oven and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

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