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The story goes there was a Provincetown chef (in the 70s, maybe?) who kicked ass, whose restaurant kicked ass, who did all the parties. This cioppino is a version of his cioppino passed down to me by a friend who still misses the east coast, sometimes. I don't miss it a bit, so I'm glad this cioppino has been transplanted like we have.

G's Holiday Cioppino

1. Go to your local fish market. I went to Fisherman's Terminal. When the funny, cute fisherman asks, "Who can I help?" push to the front if possible, because this shopping for fish business is going to take awhile. You're going to need ~6 pounds of fish. Tell the cute fisherman you're making cioppino and then use the following ideas along with his advice to determine exactly what kinds and quantities of fish to get.

1.5# white fish
1# shrimp
1# bay scallops
1# squid
12-15 mussels
12-15 clams
jar o' oysters

While you're there, pick up some fish stock. I used shellfish stock, which turned out to be a really, really, really good idea.

2. Tear yourself away from the cute fisherman and go home. Heat 3/4 C olive oil in a large soup pot. Add as many kinds of onion as you can think of. I added:

1 onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
about 7 T garlic, chopped

3. Saute until soft. Add 2 C chopped mushrooms and a heaping cup of parsley.

4. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the spices, to taste: hot Hungarian or Spanish paprika; fresh basil; dried oregano; dried chili in some form; a bay leaf or two. Saute a bit longer, then add a large can of tomatoes and a tiny handful of sugar and cook for at least a half hour.

5. While the tomato yumminess is cooking, prepare the fish. Set the clams in salty water so they spit out their salt. Run the mussels under cold water and pull their beards off. (Poor mussels!) Steam the prepared clams and mussels in 2 C white wine. Peel the shrimp. Chop up the white fish and the squid.

6. When the tomato yumminess is nicely cooked, add the fish stock (4-6 cups, depending on your taste and the consistency you're going for and the amount of fish you ended up with) and add the wine you used to steam the clams and mussels. Bring to a simmer.

7. Add the fish, in the following order: white fish, prawns, scallops, oysters, squid. Add the clams and the mussels in their shells. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for maybe ten minutes.

8. Add more parsley, as much as you like. Serve super hot with huge crusty bread.
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oneroom

March 2007

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