Cioppino: the real San Francisco treat, if you ask me.

Posted by on Feb 26, 2013 in 21DSD, Dinner, Fish/Seafood, soup | 6 comments

Cioppino: the real San Francisco treat, if you ask me.

I am very excited.

In about a month, Simon and I will be spending 3 days in Austin for PaleoFX. While there, I expect we’ll hear some inspiring talks from amazing speakers, see some old friends and meet some new ones. Oh and I’ll be doing a cooking demo, which I’m equally excited and horrified about.

Trying to decide on a dish to demo is the exact type of situation that sends me directly into a mindset I like to call holycrapI’msooverwhelmed. How am I supposed to pick ONE dish to demo with all of the choices I have? Do I do something simple? Complex? Meat? Vegetable? Pasta? (just seeing if you’re paying attention). This is about the time I start asking my friends what they would do, and usually don’t take any of their advice (I’m overwhelmed, remember?)  Johnny from Eating For Idiots said I should do something that people tend to think is difficult, but is actually quite simple, like mussels. Brilliant!

So I didn’t totally take his advice, but it was surely my inspiration for what I did decide to do for my cooking demo. It’s one of San Francisco’s signature dishes, and one of my favorites. Fish and shellfish quickly simmers in a light fennel scented tomato broth. It’s quick. It’s simple. And it’s perfect for either a weeknight meal or an elegant dinner party.

I hope to see you at Paleo FX next month!



serves 2

¾ pound firm white fish (cod, halibut etc)
¾ pound mussels
½ pound medium or large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 cup thinly sliced fennel (about 1 medium bulb, fronds reserved)
1 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 2-3 shallots)
1.5 cups chicken stock
1.5 cups jarred tomatoes
¾ cup white wine
1 teaspoon Red Boat fish sauce
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon butter (or any good fat is fine)
1 lemon

  • In a medium stock pot, heat the fat and saute the fennel and shallots for 5-6 minutes over medium heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  • Sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes and stir.
  • Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the wine, chicken stock, fish sauce and tomatoes.
  • Simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  • Add the mussels and continue to simmer until the shells open, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the shrimp and fish, and simmer for one more minute, or until they are cooked through. It cooks quick!
  • Turn off the heat, and squeeze in half the lemon
  • Serve garnished with reserved fennel fronds and wedges cut from the remaining half lemon. (Toss any mussels that don’t open)


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  1. Magnifique la recette!!!…PALEO HAUTE CUISINE!…MERCI BIEN…

  2. I agree that mussels seem daunting. I’m going to try to get over that fear by using your recipe. Thanks!

    • Oh good, I’m glad you’ll try it. Mussels really are simple; if they have a hairy thing (beard) sticking out of them, just pull it out. Aside from that, they practically cook themselves.

  3. Absolutely beautiful dish. I say it’s a go. Who could not be impressed.

  4. Doing the Whole 30 right now and after buying some plantains on a whim, I found your recipe. I used the tostada recipe and put seasoned ground beef on mine with salsa and it was amazing! For the rest of my family (a 2 & 5 year old and my husband) I put beans, meat, cheese & salsa. They all gobbled it up! My 5 yo RAVED about it and my husband who never comments on my dinner besides, “that was good babe, thanks.” Has told me 3 separate times that it was delicious. I’ve been writing about my whole 30 journey and will definitely be mentioning this recipe!!! Thank you so much for such a tasty and simple recipe!

    • Yum! Sounds delish the way you made it! I’ve been meaning to try different variations. So glad you and the family enjoyed it! Happy Whole 30 :)

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