Cioppino: Seafood Stew, San Francisco Style

NETKY.SK • 2 Január 2019, 15:07 • 3 min
Cioppino: Seafood Stew, San Francisco Style

CALIFORNIA-After living in Slovakia now for almost three years, it’s super special for me to return for Christmas holidays to my native California and enjoy the taste of our culinary treasures, one of which I would like to share with you today.


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When the cold, wet winter comes to California, locals from the San Francisco Bay love to feast on cioppino, a savory seafood stew inspired by Italian immigrants.  Accompanied by large slices of broiled sourdough bread brushed with olive oil and rubbed with raw garlic, paired with a fine wine from nearby Sonoma Valley, and the cozy company of family and a few close friends, it makes for a hearty meal and memorable evening.  


Comparing their sizes, California is a whole pizza pie whereas Slovakia is a single slice (see map).  The Golden State’s 1,350 kilometers of coastline along the Pacific Ocean provide plentiful seafood, although habitat destruction and global warming are causing serious harm to the salmon stocks and all types of crustaceans. Indeed, California crab fishermen just have filed a law suit for financial damages against big oil companies who have blocked efforts to reduce the dangerous greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the ocean’s waters, where increasing acidification and toxic algae blooms are destroying commercial fisheries.  Still, Californians continue to celebrate their natural and cultural assets that allow so many unique ingredients to unite in such imaginative and sumptuous ways.img


The history of this local dish comes from Italian immigrant fishermen who adapted their traditional seafood stew recipes to the local ingredients found in San Francisco.  Nowadays, I appreciate long-time friends who share my Italian heritage and host us in their warm Sonoma home to savour these flavors and share stories.


Cioppino is a perfect “slow food” since it requires seasonal ingredients and hours to prepare, providing people with a rare, relaxed occasion to listen to the latest news from friends’ lives while cooking together.  Everyone helps make the meal, some contributing certain ingredients while others offer their time for chopping, seasoning and stirring slowly. 


The stock comes from salmon heads simmered in a tomato-based broth for several hours, sometimes cooked even a day beforehand so that the flavors can better combine and make easier the eventual adding of fresh seafood just before serving.  Loads of crab, clams, calamari, shrimp, scallops, cod, mussels, and almost anything else found in the fishermen’s net, make up the mass of tasty floating protein in cioppino’s spicy, saucy broth. My friend in Sonoma makes his own famous mix adapted from his family’s recipe, but here is another recipe found on Epicurious




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