¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion
½ tsp fennel seeds
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs tomato paste
½ cup red wine
2½ cups canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
1 cup clam juice
1 cup water
1 whole bay leaf
½ cup torn fresh basil
1 lb monkfish, preferably on the bone, sliced into 4 steaks
1 medium live Dungeness crab
8 oz cleaned squid, cut into ½” pieces
3 Tbs fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and fennel seeds and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Stir in ¼ cup of the wine and simmer until reduced to a glaze. Add the remaining ¼ cup wine and reduce by half. Crush the tomatoes through your fingers into the pot; stir in their juices, the clam juice, the water and bay leaf, cover and simmer 30 minutes. (The cioppino may be prepared up to this point and refrigerated overnight in a tightly sealed container).
2. Adjust heat so that the cioppino simmers briskly. Stir in the basil and monkfish, cover and cook 5 minutes. Add crab and cook 1 minute; finally add the squid and cook until just firm, about 2 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Transfer the cioppino to a large bowl, scatter the parsley on top, and serve.
*To prepare the Dungeness crab: Add crab to a pot of boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes; remove from the pot and cool. Remove the top shell and discard. Remove the gills from the sides of the crab, trim off the face, and scoop out the yellow matter and discard. Cut the body with legs attached into 4 pieces and reserve for the stew.
**Squeamish about working with a live crab? Purchase crabmeat instead.
Recipe Source: Food Network Kitchens
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