Cioppino-A Winter Seafood Stew

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Seafood can be a great comfort food in the winter, especially around the holidays.  If you are looking for an elegant dish that can also warm your insides, Cioppino can be a winter treat to impress your family and guests. 

Cioppino is a comforting San Franciscan seafood stew (or sometimes called Fisherman’s Stew) filled with shrimp, clams, mussels, white fish, and crab legs all simmered in a rich broth made from tomatoes, white wine, and fish stock. A family favorite, enjoy this easy and delicious one-pot seafood stew for a special weeknight or holiday meal.

Traditionally served with toasted garlic bread or freshly sliced baguette, my favorite way to enjoy this recipe is over a scoop of buttery mashed potatoes. A stew perfect for special occasions or holidays, cioppino is easily one of the best seafood recipes that you will ever make.


Winter Seafood Stew

Course: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: moderate


Prep time


Cooking time





Lighter than a bisque, this seafood stew will liven up your seafood repertoire.


  • 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
    1 onion, thinly sliced
    1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
    2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
    1 teaspoon fennel seeds
    1 long red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
    1L (4 cups) fish stock
    800g can crushed tomatoes
    2 bay leaves
    1 cup (250ml ) white wine
    1kg mussels, de-bearded
    6 small calamari (including tentacles), cleaned, cut into rings
    16 green prawns, peeled (tails intact), deveined
    500g firm white fish (such as blue-eye cod), skin removed, cut into 2cm pieces
    2 cooked blue swimmer crabs, chopped
    Gremolata, to serve


  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frypan. Add onion, fennel and carrots. Cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add garlic, saffron threads, fennel seeds and chilli and cook for a further minute. Stir in the fish stock, tomatoes and bay leaves and allow to simmer over low heat for 20 minutes (this dish can be prepared up to this stage well in advance, if desired). Just before you are ready to serve the stew, place wine in a saucepan, add mussels and cook, covered, over high heat until mussels open (discard any that do not open). Strain cooking wine into stew base, reserving the mussels.
  • Return pan in which you cooked the mussels to the heat. Heat remaining oil, then add calamari and cook quickly for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to stew.
  • Add prawns and fish to pan and cook for 1-2 minutes each side or until just cooked. Then add crab and reserved mussels to stew. Slowly simmer over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Season with salt and lots of black pepper. Serve in wide bowls sprinkled with gremolata.

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