Monday, September 26, 2011
I hear this dish comes from fisherman on the docks in Italy. A working man's food. It makes sense to me, in the old village ports of Italy, that one might take what was left in the bottom of the boat at the end of the day, carry it home to his wife who would brilliantly, yet effortlessly make this incredible stew from scraps.
Whatever its origins, cioppino is a dish that is not often seen on menus in the American Southwest. Back east more perhaps, but not really here. It seems like a dish that could intimidate, taking hours to stew on the stove. But no, not this time. I created this for a weeknight meal. Pick up some fish this weekend and put on a pot.
This stew has a rich and thick tomato-y broth, that is earthy with that mild sweetness that comes from tomato, and a hint of warmth from the red pepper. The vegetables and the thick, flaky chunks of fish really leave you satisfied.
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large onion, thinly sliced or diced
• 1 small eggplant cut into small dice (about 2 cups)
• Fresh or frozen green beans or peas (about 1.5 cups)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tbs. garlic, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes (for medium, use less for less heat)
• 1 small can tomato paste
• 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
• 4 cups stock or broth
• 3/4 pound fresh (or from frozen) salmon fillet cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1 pound fresh (or from frozen) wahoo or cod fillet cut into 1-inch cubes (or any firm white fish, like halibut)
Heat the oil in a large, deep pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, and eggplant and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and sauté 2 more minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices and the stock. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the chunks of fish to the pot and cover and cook until the fish is cooked through, about another 5-7 minutes. Add the green beans or peas. Simmer for another minute Season generously with salt and pepper to taste..
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with GF crackers or toasted GF bread. I garnished with diced celery, a dollop of sour cream and cilantro.