Here’s our version of “La Vigilia,” the Italian-American tradition of serving seafood on Dec. 24. Rather than a 7-9 course dinner, we turned to San Francisco’s signature fish stew, Cioppino.

Serve this with warm crusty French bread to soak up the delicious tomato & seafood broth.  If you’re a white wine drinker, pair this dish with a rich white wine like our Sonoma Coast Chardonnay  – if you prefer red wine, pair this with our Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.


Serves: 8 to 10


  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 bottle white wine, such as Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay
  • 2 lbs. clams
  • 2 lbs. mussels
  • 2 whole crabs, cooked & picked, shells reserved (to save on time, you can purchase cooked crab from your butcher)
  • 2 lbs. shrimp, tails removed & reserved, shrimp cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 2 medium onions, julienne
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 12 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 Tbsp. saffron threads
  • 2 anchovy filets, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. harissa or other spicy chili paste
  • 1½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 lbs. halibut, diced
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped


  1. In a large pot, add water and wine; bring to a boil.
  2. Add the crab & shrimp shells and clams and cook for 4 minutes, covered.
  3. Add the mussels and cook for 3 minutes more, or until the clams and mussels open.
  4. Remove from heat and strain using a large colander, reserving the liquid.
  5. Add oil, fennel, onion, red bell pepper and garlic to the pot and sauté until tender.
  6. Add reserved liquid, diced tomatoes, saffron, anchovies, harissa, and dried herbs.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  7. Season the shrimp and halibut with salt and add to the pot.  Cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Add reserved crab, clams and mussels.
  9. Add lemon juice, fresh parsley and salt to taste.  Bring back to a simmer and serve immediately with crusty bread on the side.