Wednesday, January 18, 2012


A few weeks ago, my husband and I picked up a mixed bag of seafood from Costco. It had loads of goodies, like mussels, rings of calimari, dime-sized bay scallops, and smallish shrimp. Everything in the bag seemed to be prepared so that it could all cook in the same amount of time. The mussels were partially open, which told me that had been pre-cooked. The shrimp were small, as were the scallops, which meant they could cook in the same amount of time. It took the guess-work out of the preparation, for sure! When I looked at that bag, all I saw was seafood stew. Although, now that I think about it, those would all lend themselves to jambalaya or paella, as well. I'll let you know what I do with the other half of the bag!

If you do not happen to have a mixed bag of seafood waiting for you in your freezer, almost anything will work here. Crab would be amazing, or clams. Just pick up a few pounds of your favorite seafood, and you will love this dinner. We served this piping hot, with a loaf of fresh honey wheat bread and a nice green salad.

Cioppino, LoLo Style
(Adapted from Giadda de Laurentiis,

1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small can tomato paste
2 regular cans diced tomatoes, in their juice
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. crushed bay leaves
6 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp. salt
3 pounds mixed seafood (small scallops, shrimp, calamari and mussels)
Fresh ground black pepper and Tabasco, to taste

1. In a large dutch oven (I loved my ceramic coated Le Creuset for this, but any heavy pan will work), heat up a dollop of olive oil, then add your chopped onion and garlic. Cook until they are translucent, about 10 minutes. (This step is entirely up to you, but I've found that when making soup, if an onion is at all crunchy going into the will stay that way, or simply disintegrate.)

2. Add a little water to deglaze the pan, then stir in the tomato paste. Cook that until it smells divine, then add the remainder of the ingredients, except for the seafood, pepper and Tabasco.

3. Cover and simmer at least 30 minutes, then blend with an immersion blender. 10 minute before you are ready to serve, add the seafood and cook until just done, in order of necessary cooking time.

Season table side with hot sauce and pepper. Serve with fresh whole wheat bread and a crunchy green salad.