The Recipes

Two days to my birthday Cioppino

If you haven't gathered yet, I adore seafood.  Thank you, Southern California, for that addiction.  Since my birthday is two days away (and I work tomorrow night), I'm making a variation on something I can NEVER resist ordering when I'm out.

Birthday Cioppino

Ingredients:

- 1 small shallot, chopped
- 1/4 onion, chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, one peeled and one pasted
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 T. tomato paste
- 1/2 14.5-oz. can of diced tomatoes, with their juices
- 1/2 c. white wine
- 1 c. fish or vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 mussels
- 4 clams
- 4 medium-sized or large-sized shrimp
- 1 small fillet of cod (or similar white fish), cut into 1-in. pieces
- Small handful of flat-leaf parsely, chopped for garnish
- 1/3 of a lemon, zested for garnish
- salt
- pepper
- olive oil
- 2 pieces of bread

Heat 1-2 T. of olive oil in a large, high-sided skillet.  Add the shallot, onion and celery.  Lightly season them with salt and pepper, remembering that you will have salt released from the shellfish in the cooking process.Allow the vegetables to sweat for 8-10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.  Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and sautee for 2 minutes more; then add the tomato paste and stir to combine for one more minute.  Add the wine, tomatoes, stock and bay leaf.  Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

During this time, peel and devein the shrimp and slice your bread.  Set the shrimp aside and lightly drizzle the bread with olive oil.  Sprinkle the bed with salt and put it on a cooking sheet; I used my toaster oven, but you could also preheat your oven and use it.

Remove the bay leaf and add the clams and mussels.  Cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes.  Place the bread in the oven/toaster oven.  Add the shrimp and cod to the pot as soon as the clams and mussels start to open.  Cover again, and simmer again for another 5 minutes.  Take the bread out of the oven after 4-5 minutes; immediately brush the bread with the other clove of garlic. 

Plate the stew and garnish with the parsley and pieces of bread for soaking up the broth.  Mmmm....  Happy Birthday to ME!!!