Funny how our food tastes are impacted by the season. Now that the days are shorter and the temperatures cooler, many of us think comfort food that warms the soul and nourishes the body. A real favorite in our house is a seafood stew called Cioppino, perfect with hearty crusty bread and a green salad flavored with sea salt and lemon juice. It is also easy to fix, becoming increasingly important to me, as much of the preparation can be done in advance.
For Tomato Base:
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T butter
1 cup each finely chopped onion and green pepper
1 t minced garlic
1 pound fresh mushrooms, halved
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
1 6 oz tomato paster
1 cup dry white wine
2 8 oz bottles of clam juice
2 T minced parsley
1/4 c lemon juice
2 bay leaves
1 t oregano
1/2 t each basil, salt and pepper
1 T sugar
Heat oil and butter over medium heat in large soup/stew pot. Add onion, pepper, garlic and mushrooms. Cook about 10 minutes or until onions are limp. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, clam juice, parsley, lemon juice, bay leaves, seasonings and sugar. Heat to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, over low heat 1 hour. (This can be made up to 48 hours in advance and refrigerated.)
Half hour before serving, heat tomato base to simmer. Add 1 1/2 lbs swordfish, sea bass or red snapper, cut in 1″ cubes and cook about 10-15 minutes. Add a dozen (or more) mussels, 1 pound shrimp, 1/2 lb. scallops and 1/2 pound lump crabmeat. Cover and simmer over low heat until mussels open, about 10 minutes.
Spoon into flat soup bowls and serve for an absolutely delightful dinner for 6. You may garnish with a mixture of mayonnaise, curry powder and lime juice if desired.
For other tasty recipes, take a look at Foodie Friday.
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