This San Francisco-style seafood cioppino is loaded with fresh mussels, shrimp and scallops simmered in a savory red wine tomato broth for the ultimate one-pot meal!
As a native of the San Franciso Bay Area, there was always an abundance of fresh seafood and produce. It was amazing growing up in such a melting pot of food! Some of my fondest memories are heading to Pier 39 with my family to check out the sea lions and grab a bowl of creamy corn chowder in a sourdough bowl.
After a recent visit over the holidays to Northern California, I was craving some hometown flavors. I decided to create a big pot filled with tender aromatic vegetables, shrimp, mussels, and scallops. I’m so excited to share this healthy seafood cioppino recipe with you. There wasn’t a drop left in our bowls! If you are a seafood lover, this one is for you my friend.
How to Make A Seafood Cioppino
A stunning seafood stew in a savory tomato wine broth, just waiting to be devoured!
It’s all about the base!
I’m talking about adding just the right combination of vegetables to build the fish stew flavor potential to it’s maximum. Garlic, onions, leeks, celery, bell pepper, carrots, serrano chili peppers for heat, thyme and bay leaf add aromatics and earthy flavors to the broth. Some red wine and lemon juice add acidity to brighten the flavors of the stew.
You can use any fresh catch of the day you like! I chose a mussel, shrimp and scallops trio because they all have unique tastes and textures. Each cook fairly quickly so keep an eye on the time to prevent overcooking is crucial.
Moist heat cooking, specifically steam in addition to the hot broth temperatures help to cook each piece of seafood. When you cover the pot, the water reaches it’s boiling point and eventually builds up enough energy to create steam to cook the ingredients quickly. Make sure to discard any unopened mussels. It indicates the mussel was not fresh.
I like to add some extra chopped fresh herbs like thyme, parsley, and freshly cracked pepper for extra seasoning right before serving.
If you like an extra crunch, you can make homemade croutons. I found a nice crusty sourdough baguette from the market. Little did it know that I would soon be transformed into toasted edible spoons to soak up all of the broth!
When a dish is made with love, it shows! You’ll be delighted and surprised to see how easy it is to prepare an elegant gourmet meal made right at home. If you’re having family and friends over for a wholesome supper or want a special romantic meal made for two, this San Franciso style seafood cioppino needs to be on the menu. Cheers!
More seafood recipes
How do you properly store fresh mussels?
After you purchase live mussels from the market, you want to keep them fresh until ready to serve. When you get home, immediately remove mussels from the plastic bag. Store them loose in a bowl or unsealed container. Cover the bowl of mussels with a damp paper towel or cloth. They can be kept for a few days and still smell like saltwater from the ocean. When you’re ready to cook, make sure to drain any water that collects at the bottom of the bowl. If the mussels do not open after cooking, discard because it indicates they are not fresh. (Source: peimussel.com)
San Francisco Seafood Cioppino
- 1 loaf french baguette, ½-inch thick sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil , plus more for brushing on baguette
- 1 cup yellow onion, ¼-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic, about 8 cloves
- ½ cup leeks, cut into ⅛-inch slices
- ½ cup celery, ¼-inch dice
- ½ cup red bell pepper, ¼-inch dice
- ½ cup carrots, ¼-inch dice
- 1 serrano chili pepper, seeded and minced, about 2 teaspoons
- ½ cup tomatoes, seeded and cut into ¼-inch dice
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- ½ cup red wine, Merlot recommended
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon thyme, chopped
- 1 bay leaf, dried
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ pound raw scallops, 16/20 count size
- ½ pound shrimp, 16/20 count size, peeled and deveined
- 1 pound mussels
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Prepare croutons. Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice the baguette on a ½-inch thick bias cut. Lightly brush each side with olive oil and sprinkle salt. Place on a sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes. Flip over and cook another 2 to 5 minutes until golden brown on each side. Cool and reserve.
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat until hot.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the leeks, celery, bell pepper, carrots, and minced serrano chili peppers. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and cook 3 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, wine, water, lemon juice, thyme, bay leaf, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Simmer on medium-low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf.
- Clean and remove the beard of the mussels. Discard any mussels that have broken shells or do not close when tapped.
- Heat the cioppino soup over medium heat. Add shrimp and scallops to the soup, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
- Open the lid and flip over the shrimp. Insert the mussels evenly spread across the pan. Turn heat to medium-high, cover and cook another 3 to 5 minutes until the shrimp is cooked and mussels are open. Discard any mussels that do not open.
- Taste soup and season with more salt and pepper as needed.
- To Serve: Ladle soup into serving bowls, add seafood, and garnish with chopped parsley and more thyme. Serve with homemade crouton.
- If you do not want a slight spiciness to the stew, omit the serrano peppers.