Not your Italian Grandma’s CIOPPINO

September 27, 2012

No offense to any Italian grandmothers out there.  We love you ALL …

But, have you tried Chef Matt’s CIOPPINO  lately??

Large prawns bathe alongside hunks of Dungeness crab, Mediterranean mussels, manila clams, and day boat scallops in a brilliant orange seafood broth.  Dipped sourdough toast points are poised to be soaked, plucked, and devoured!

To start the dish off, CHEF MATT roasts shrimp shells.  He then gets right in there squeezing and crushing the shells to leech as much flavor as he can out of the crustacean.  The result is a rich deep sea water flavor that carries through each bite.  The gorgeous autumnal hue is derived by adding red peppers, onions, carrots, celery, leeks, garlic (of course!) and a dash of tomato paste to the stew.  While endowing a gorgeous color palette to the dish this vegetable medley also provides a silky texture to the broth.  It’s also a nod to Chef Matt’s French culinary background which he uses to refashion this cioppino recipe a Portuguese neighbor once shared with him.

Did you know Cioppino originated right in North Beach, the heart of SF’s historic Italian American neighborhood?

Created by Italian and Portuguese fishermen in the late 1800s,  they would make it from the catch of the day.  Cooking the stew while still on the boats fishing in the rough waters!  It became so popular that soon restaurants all over SF started to serve the traditional fisherman stew…

And so delicious it is, restaurants all over the world are now serving this wonderful dish 100 years later!