Thursday, July 29, 2010

Seafood Ciopinno... Does it get any better!

Living here in Murrells Inlet SC, South Carolina's seafood capital is very exciting if you are a chef or anyone who loves fresh fish and shellfish. At the local fish markets here you can buy fresh shrimp, (which are running now...yea!) oysters from up north, and an array of fresh fish like grouper, triggerfish, king or Spanish mackerel, cobia, black sea bass, different varieties of snapper, flounder, you name its pretty much being caught right now. I'm like a kid in a candy store when I walk into these markets! When I lived on the west coast, one of my favorite things to eat was a good seafood Ciopinno, rich, delicious, loaded with the days catch and a slice of good crusty buttered bread, well I can taste it now as I write this story! Now that I'm living on the opposite coast I still love this dish but make it with all of the bounty from the Atlantic. Fresh shrimp, clams, mussels, grouper, scallops and blue crabs. This recipe is a good one and is easily made, just don't over cook your seafood and serve it with some good crusty buttered bread and a nice glass of wine.  Enjoy......


1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup butter
1 large onion -- chopped
1/4 cup Italian parsley -- chopped
4 cloves garlic -- chopped
2 cups red wine -- dry
2 cups plum tomatoes -- chopped
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 whole bay leaf
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper -- freshly ground
dash Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
2 cups clam juice


2 large blue crab -- fresh, cleaned and split
12 fresh mussels -- in shell
8 large shrimp -- shell on
12 whole clams -- in the shell
1/2 pound scallops -- fresh
1/2 pound grouper fillets -- cut into pieces


Heat oil and butter in a large pot. Add onion, parsley, and garlic and cook until onion is transparent. Add red wine and cook an additional five minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce, tomato paste, bay leaves and seasonings. Stir frequently while cooking 15 to 20 minutes. Add clam juice, cover, and simmer for a half hour.

Add all seafood except grouper and scallops to the sauce. Add water if necessary. Cook for five minutes, add grouper and scallops and cook an additional ten minutes. When clams have opened, cioppino is ready. To serve, divide seafood evenly between four bowls and ladle broth over the seafood and sprinkle with some fresh chopped parsley. Serve at once with a good loaf of crusty bread and a good bottle of wine.

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