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