1:21 am - Friday, October 18 2019
Home / Food / The Culinary Chase / cioppino and a San Francisco mini trip



cioppino and a San Francisco mini trip

Italian American fish stew - cioppinoDuring the first week in March, Mr. S and I were in San Francisco; he was attending GDC while I was a tourist for 5 days.  I had never been before and was eager to explore as much as possible and I did!  Each day was packed with something new.  We stayed in the Mission District (so glad we did) and would walk to the Moscone Center every day.  Breakfast was in a different place each morning usually eating at establishments that promoted locally grown food.  Some of the memorable ones were Blue Bottle Coffee (the softest poached eggs on toast with avocado), Chow Food Bar (buttermilk pancakes to die for), and Tartine Bakery & Cafe (ham and swiss croissants that melted in your mouth).  I would have breakfast with Mr. S and then bid him farewell as he went on to the GDC.

Four Barrel coffee, Mission District

Popular tourist sights and local cuisine are always high on my list of things to do along with brushing up on local history.  This brings me to cioppino (chuh-pee-noh) – an Italian American fish stew.  While I didn’t have one of San Fran’s signature dishes while there, I did make it when we got home.  Thanks to Italian immigrants for this dish; they would bring home whatever was the catch of the day and make into a tomato based stew.  It’s easy to make and packed with flavour.

San Francisco’s vintage streetcars



top of Lombard Street which has 8 hairpin turns (Coit Tower in the background)

Use this recipe as a guide and change the amounts where you see fit.  It’s a forgiving dish so you can’t really mess it up.

Serves 4
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced (can use a small onion, chopped)
good splash of olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch or two crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
28 oz. can Italian tomatoes
1 cup bottled clam juice
1 cup water
1 cup white wine
1 lb. of clams
12 large shrimp, peeled
1 lb. firm white fish cut into bite-size chunks
1 lb. mussels, cleaned
8 to 10 large scallops
1 squid tube, cut into rings
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook fennel until it is soft, roughly 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in oregano, red-pepper flakes, and bay leaf.  Add crushed tomatoes and their juice, white wine, water, and clam juice; bring to a boil then reduce heat.  Add clams and mussels. Simmer, covered, until shells open. Add fish, squid, and shrimp to pot. Simmer, covered, until fish is opaque and shrimp are pink, around 2 to 3 minutes. Discard bay leaf and any unopened clams. Remove pot from heat and stir in parsley.   Serve immediately with a slice of focaccia or sourdough bread.

famous painted ladies


Sightglass coffee – one of our favourite spots in San Fran

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  I used a can of clams as the food shop didn’t have any fresh on hand.  Enjoy!

About Heather Chase

The Culinary Chase was coined by my husband whilst in a coffee shop in Hong Kong back in 2006. We wanted something that would be a play on my last name and by the time we finished our coffee, the name was born. As long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed cooking. It wasn’t until we moved to Asia that I began to experiment using herbs and spices in my everyday cooking. Not only do they enhance the flavor of food but also heighten it nutritionally. Over the years, I began to change our diet to include more vegetables, pulses, whole grains and less red meat. Don’t get me wrong, we love our meat, just not in super-size portions (too hard for the body to digest). I always use the palm of my hand as a guide to portion control when eating red meat. If the meat is larger than my hand, I save that portion for another day. Also, if the veggies on your plate look colorful (think the colors of the rainbow) – red, green, yellow, orange etc. then you’re most likely getting the right amount of nutrients per meal. I post recipes that I think help maintain a healthy body. I use the 80/20 rule – 80% of the time I make a conscious effort to eat healthy and 20% for when I want french fries with gravy (poutine). Balance is the key and to enjoy life with whatever comes my way. Thanks for visiting!


The views and opinions expressed in this content are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of haligonia.ca.


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