There’s a saying, “For fish to taste good it has to swim twice, first in water and then in wine.” Nothing rings more true. Our delicious cioppino is a lean fish stew to which you can add whatever seafood you prefer. From crab to prawns to chunks of fish, the variety is unlimited.
3 lb (1.5 kg) bones of raw, wild white fish such as halibut*
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced
1 leek, white part only, sliced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) sea salt
1 sprig fresh parsley
1 fresh bay leaf
1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
8 cups (2 L) water
3 large free-range egg whites
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 leeks, washed and thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
12 sustainable cold-water prawns, peeled and deveined (10/20 per lb or 22/42 per kg)
8 large sustainable organic scallops
1/2 lb (225 g) fresh wild salmon fillets, cut into 4 or 6 pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crème fraîche (optional)
Chopped Italian parsley
*Ask your local fish monger for fish bones they may normally throw away, but be sure they’re from lean white fish rather than fatty fish such as salmon or trout. Otherwise, the stock is too oily and difficult to clarify.
To make stock: Rinse fish bones well under cold running water. Pat dry and cut into 4 in (10 cm) pieces. Heat oil in large, deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add onion, fennel, leek, peppercorns, salt, parsley, and bay leaf. Sauté over medium-low heat until vegetables are soft. Add bones and continue to cook with lid placed ajar for 10 minutes or until bones are no longer transparent. Stir occasionally.
Add wine and water and bring to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Strain through very fine meshed sieve, and press solids to extract as much juice as possible.
Return stock to saucepan. Slide egg whites into stock and very gently stir until stock turns white. This will clarify the stock. Strain stock again, only this time through cheesecloth. Fish stock will now be a lovely clear broth. Refrigerate at this point for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
To make soup: Heat oil in large saucepan. Add fennel, leeks, and onion. Sauté over medium-low heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Add clarified fish stock and tomatoes. Simmer just until warmed. Add seafood and poach fish covered, just until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook seafood.
Ladle broth, seafood, and vegetables into large wide soup bowls and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and a sprinkle of Italian parsley, if you wish. Serve with crusty toasted chunks of baguette.
Makes 10 cups (2.5 L) or 6 servings.
Each serving contains: 530 calories; 70 g protein; 19 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 14 g total carbohydrates (5 g sugars, 3 g fibre); 441 mg sodium
source: "Cooking With Wine", alive #376, February 2014
What is clarifying?
Clarifying the stock removes any bits and cloudiness in the cioppino. Straining the stock, gently stirring egg whites into it, then straining it again results in a lovely clear broth that makes the seafood and vegetables pop.
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