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Andiamo Cooking School

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(WJBK) - Andiamo
Cioppino alla Calabrese

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Bacon or Pancetta, chopped
1 Tbls Olive oil

1/2 cup Diced Onions
2 cups Roasted Red Peppers, Diced
2 cups Mushrooms, Sliced
1 cup Celery, Diced
1 cup Scallions, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
4 Tbls Parsley, chopped

2 Tbls Chili powder
1/2 tsp Ground caraway
1 tsp Ground cumin
1  Bay leaf

2 cups White Wine (preferably same as you will drink with dinner)
2 cups Tomatoes, fresh diced
2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
3 cups Fish or Chicken Stock

2 cups Shrimp, tail-on 16-20 count size
1 lb Fish, diced (see chef’s note below)
8  Clams (littleneck or topneck)
8 Mussels (fresh black mussels)
1 cup Scallops (see chef’s note)
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:
1. Choosing the right pot for a Ciopino is of the utmost importance as I often elect to serve it right off the stove and onto the table and allow the guests to serve themselves.  This is a wonderful one pot dish.  Just provide everyone with a large rimmed bowl, fork, knife, cocktail fork, crab crackers, bouillon spoon, crisp garlic toast and chilled white wine.
2. Sauté the bacon until crisp in small amount of olive oil, start at very low heat to render out the fat and flavor to season the pot, and then increase the heat to crisp the bacon.
3. In the seasoned pot, proceed with the vegetables and sauté until just al dente, along with all of the spices and bay leaf.  This allows the vegetables to release all of their flavors into the pot and begin building levels of flavor.
4. Increase the heat and add the tomato paste, sauté briefly to caramelize.  This will promote a wonderful sweet flavor and great color to the finished product.
5. Add the wine and deglaze the pan to stop the caramelizing.  This will release the fond (little bits of caramelized goodness on the bottom and sides of the pot) and capture the flavor in the stew.
6. Add the fresh tomatoes and stock, then bring to the simmer. Ideal cooking temperature would be around 160-170° F for poaching the seafood in the stew.  This will ensure a low and slow cook, so you will end up with a succulent and tender final product.
7. Add the lobster, clams, and mussels. Cook for about 3 minutes.
8. Add the fish, shrimp and scallops. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
9. Season with lemon juice, and salt & pepper. Serve with garlic toast.

Chef’s Note: There is no right or wrong when it comes to Ciopino as far as the types or amounts of seafood included in its preparation.  I like to see a variety of shellfish, crustaceans, firm fleshed fin-fish and even calamari.  Keep in mind a wonderful fisherman’s stew can be prepared with as little as one or two varieties, but the more the merrier.  When this presented in a covered vessel and opened in front of the guest, the attractive presentation on the dish and the wonderful aroma will be sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate.

Shrimp should be split along the back side and deveined before adding to the stew.  Scallops should have the small discolored tab removed from the side of the muscle where it attaches itself to the shell.  All fin-fish should be skinned and free from bones for this recipe.  Always choose a sweet, firm fleshed fish that will not completely flake apart once cooked or impart too much flavor, ideal choices would be: bass, grouper, snapper, perch, haddock or sturgeon.

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