This fish stew with the Italian name is not 100% Italian, but the concept was introduced to us Americans by an Italian, so in my book it counts. The original stew became famous in San Franscisco in the 1850s when Genoese immigrant Giuseppe Bazzuro served it up at his restaurant. The name comes from ciuppin, meaning "to chop" describing the chopping up of various leftovers of the day's catch to make the soup. As with many traditional recipes brought to us by immigrants, the recipe has been adapted over the years. My recipe comes from the Bay area's legendary Tadich Grill.
A word of warning: the aromas while cooking this dish will make your mouth water. So, be prepared for some serious drooling!
1 cup olive oil
2 sticks butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 leek (white part only), chopped
1 28-oz. cans crushed Italian tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
4 bay leaves
1 tsp. each: oregano, thyme, basil
2 pinches cayenne
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs halibut, cut into large pieces
16 sea scallops
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1-2 cups flour
12 oz. crabmeat, picked over
2 cups dry white wine
16 manila clams, scrubbed
Heat 1/2 cup of the oil and 8 tbsp. of the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 4 cups water, and all the seasonings (except the parsley). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.
Heat remaining oil, butter, and garlic in a large skillet over high heat until fragrant. Working in batches, dredge halibut, scallops and shrimp in flour, shaking off excess, and fry, turning seafood frequently until golden. Transfer seafood with a slotted spoon to the pot with the sauce. Add crabmeat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Add wine to the skillet over high heat, scraping browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add clams, cover and cook until shells open. Discard any clams that do not open. Add clams and broth to the sauce pot. Adjust seasonings. Serve up in bowls and garnish with parsley.