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My San Francisco Cioppino

Serves 4

Cioppino is said to have originated at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.  One version of its origin that I heard (but is unsubstantiated) says that Italian fishermen would boil up pot of fish stew at the docks early in the morning to eat after returning from a night of fishing on the Bay.  Those who wanted to eat the stew had to "chip in" fish from their catch.  This practice resulted in many varieties of fish being put into the pot, and it was affectionately given the name of "chip-in-o".  The Italianized version came to be called "cioppino".

My version of this traditional San Francisco dish adds fresh bulb fennel, Pernod and saffron rice.  The recipe is relatively easy.  Make the fish stock, then add to it chopped tomatoes, fish and other seasonings.  The saffron rice is cooked separately and added to the cioppino just before serving.

This recipe is written in 3 parts, but read the whole recipe before you start to get the right timing so that all the parts are ready at the same time.

1.    Tomato-Fish Broth Preparation

2 large bulbs fresh fennel (with stalks)
1 lb. of fish bones, trimmings
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tsp. fennel seed
2 cups water
2 cups white wine
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup Pernod (or other anise flavored liquor)
2 1/2 TBS tomato paste
2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes (skinned and seeded) or the canned equivalent
3 cloves finely diced garlic

2.    Fennel and Fish Preparation

3.    Saffron Rice Preparation


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