Monday, July 12, 2010


A couple days ago we actually saw crab on sale at the local Asian market, and if there's one thing our household will NEVER get enough of, it's crab. Seriously, there have been times where we literally ate nothing but crab for days straight (well, okay, maybe just dinner...but still, it was DAYS). It was a little odd actually because crab season is usually in the winter, so we were surprised to see it at only $3.99 a pound in the middle of July. But hey, who's complaining?

Anyway, Dad wanted to get crabs again today, (they seemed pretty angry about being bought) but we decided that, instead of steaming them like we always do, we ought to try a creative new twist on it. After some consideration, we settled on San Francisco Cioppino (Dad really wanted Singapore Chili Crab, but he says he has yet to find a legitimate recipe in day I'll go to Penang and try the real deal). I guess four years in San Diego hasn't completely washed out the Bay Area in me :)

Cioppino is supposed to be a seafood soup, sort of like a Bouillabaisse with an Italian twist. The first time I had it, our next-door neighbor gave us a bowl with an actual lobster tail in Unfortunately, lobster is a little hard to come by, not to mention sore on the wallet, so we settled instead this time for crab. And, hey, it was still delicious. In fact, that's just the thing with cioppino - you can mix and match just about any kind of shellfish or seafood (except for certain kinds of fish, they might disintegrate in the soup) and still end up with fantastic results.



-3 shallots, diced
-2 carrots, diced
-3 ribs celery, diced
-1 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1 tbsp butter
-Large pinch chili powder
-4 cloves garlic, chopped
-2 cups water
-1 cup white wine
-3-4 tomatoes, diced
-1 large bay leaf
-2 tbsp oregano
-2 tbsp parsley
-Salt and pepper to taste
-2 rock crabs, cut into pieces (including the brains and juice)
-12 small clams
-1 pound shrimp (keep heads separate)
-Dashi powder for seasoning
-Mushrooms, tofu (okay, these aren't part of the recipe, but we added them anyway)
-Other seafood (including sea bass or halibut chunks, mussels, scallops, etc.)

1. In a large pot, cook the onions and chili powder over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes.
2. Add carrots and celery and cook until onions are translucent.
3. Add garlic and raise to high heat until you can smell the garlic.
4. Add water, white whine, tomatoes, shrimp heads, bay leaf, oregano, and parsley. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. You can also add other ingredients like the mushrooms and tofu we used.
5. Turn up the heat to boiling. Add the crabs, clams, and other shellfish. Throw in the crab innards. Cook for about 5 minutes.
6. Throw in the rest of the seafood (shrimp, fish, etc.). Close the lid and cook another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the flavor with salt and pepper.
7. Dish out and serve with crusty bread (we didn't have any so we used my whole wheat buns).

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