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Some people mistakenly believe that cioppino, the tomato-based seafood stew, originated from some picturesque Italian coastal town. In fact, it's more likely it was created by the Italian-American community in San Francisco – not that it really matters either way, but it’s still a fun little urban legend that makes a good conversation topic for the next time you eat this dish!
Cioppino is fairly easy to make at home and is especially great if you need to host a big party at short notice; all you need to do is to get hold of the freshest seafood you can find, which isn’t too difficult in Hong Kong. There's no restriction on what or how many types of seafood you put in, but a good cioppino typically includes clams, shellfish and chunks of fish.
I personally find it easier and quicker to use canned tomatoes and tomato paste to create the stew’s rich flavour, but feel free to use fresh tomatoes instead. Either way, a couple of spoons of Stefano Rocca’s Lobster Sauce does wonders to augment the cioppino’s umami flavour and give the stew an additional complexity. Traditionally, it is served with crusty bread on the side but for this dish, I boiled some Verrigni linguine to soak up all that flavourful sauce – a perfect rustic winter warmer!
250g Verrigni linguine (half the packet)8 medium prawns – shells on8 large scallops – fresh or previously frozen200g firm fish fillet (like snapper, cod, sea bass or halibut)400g Manila or Venus clams400g (1 medium can) of whole peeled tomatoes2 tbsp of tomato paste (alternatively, use 6 large peeled and diced tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes and tomato paste)1 medium-sized onion, finely diced2 heaped tbsp of Stefano Rocca lobster sauce2 bay leaves1 tbsp of paprika3 tbsp of olive oil (I used Casanova di Neri’s Extra Virgin)½ cup of waterHandful of fresh parsley leaves, torn or cut into smaller piecesSalt and pepper to taste
For more of Gary’s food adventures, head to his blog Joie De Vivre.
A self-professed gourmand who loves both eating out and experimenting with new cooking techniques at home, Gary also writes his own blog Joie de Vivre to keep track of his many eating and travelling adventures (as well as occasional mumblings about random things!). When he's not too busy eating, drinking, cooking and sleeping, he enjoys travelling, collecting kitchen gadgets, watching football and playing golf. Follow him on Instagram for even more food inspiration!
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