Growing up, I often heard the stories from my Dad about Grandpa being a fisherman in San Francisco. They tell of him being a part of a legacy…the legacy we know today as Cioppino (chu-PEE-noh). The story goes that at the end of the day, when all the fisherman came in to dock at the wharf, they would begin to trade their catch and pool it together for dinner. Being Italian, they would add a little spicy tomato sauce and some wine and then enjoy a wonderful stew with the freshest catch imaginable. The clams and mussels and crab would still be all in their shells, adding to the flavor of the dish as it simmered. The fisherman would dig in, no fancy utensils needed, just their bare hands to break open the shellfish.
A dish that many have never even heard of, or have even attempted to eat, let alone make, is really quite simple. Just take a variety of fresh fin-fish (deboned and cut) and shellfish and simmer them for about 45 minutes in a simple mixture 1 part of your favorite marinara sauce to 4 parts of your favorite red wine. That’s it. Cioppino goes great with any wine that you love to drink with seafood. Don’t forget the extra-sour sourdough bread and butter and definitely don’t forget the napkins! Ciao.