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North West-Coast Cioppino

North West-Coast Cioppino

Recipe developed by Natalie Janicka. 

Yields 6 portions.


2 lbs. King crab (other varieties will work)

1 ½  lb Sablefish

¾  lb AK shrimp (Spots or Side Stripes)

½  lb Littlenecks clams (other varieties will work)

3 tablespoons mild olive oil

2 cups yellow onion, julienned

¾  cup red peppers, julienned

3 tablespoons garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

½  teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 cups dry white wine (preferably sauvignon blanc)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoon kosher salt

1 28 oz can tomatoes (good quality San Marzano are best), pureed

4 cups seafood stock

1/4 cup basil, chiffonade

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons chives, minced (reserve for garnish)

1 orange, juiced

Prepare your seafood:

  • Clean your crab and break the large legs down into 2-3" pieces using a chef's knife. Using a pair of scissors or kitchen shears, cut the shells lengthwise so the meat will be more easily removed from the shell once the crab has been added to the cioppino base.
  • Rinse the clams in cold running water for at least 5 minutes to remove any sand from the clams. 
  • Peel the shells off the body of the shrimp (saving the shells for stock, if desired) while leaving the tails on.
  • Remove the skins from the fish fillet by running your knife between the meat and the skin. Then cut into 2-3 oz pieces, roughly 2"x2" squares.
  • Reserve seafood in the refrigerator until needed.

Start the cioppino base:

Heat a heavy bottom stock pot over med. high heat. Once the pan is hot, add oil and onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes then add the minced garlic. Stir and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add the red peppers. Allow to continue cooking, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. 

Add tomato paste, crushed red pepper and thyme and stir. Cook down until the tomato paste has had a chance to cook down for 3-4 minutes. Deglaze with wine, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits. Allow to reduce by half; this takes roughly 15 minutes.

Add pureed tomatoes, seafood stock and allow the sauce to come to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium. Allow a low boil for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then reduce heat to a simmer (medium-low heat) for 35-40 minutes, while stirring periodically. The cioppino base is ready for the addition of herbs and seafood once the volume of liquid has reduced by a third.

At this point, turn the base back up to medium high heat. Add the salt and the clams.  Cover the pot again and allow clams to cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir gently and then add the crab and sablefish pieces, covering the pot again for an additional 4-5 minutes.

Once the fish is almost cooked through and the crab is warm, carefully stir the mixture and add the herbs and the shrimp. Allow to cook until the shrimp is cooked through, roughly 5 minutes.

Take the pot off of the heat and add the orange juice. Gently stir the juice into the fish and cooking liquid.

Serve with hearty bread.