Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Crustacean Celebration: Beach Cioppino
There's nothing like a trip to the beach in the spring when oysters, Dungeness crabs and clams of many kinds are all in season at the same time. Plus the hordes of tourists and vacationers haven't yet descended on our shores, unaware as they are of the sometimes stellar weather that can occur at that time of year.
Kelly's Brighton Marina in Rockaway.
One of the standout meals we made after a trip to Kelly's place, and Dave's request for his birthday dinner that night, was a fantastic cioppino accented with odds and ends from the produce we'd brought with us. Simple and sensational, all it required was a salad and a loaf of bread, plus a terrific pinot gris my brother had supplied, to make this a highlight of the week.
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 med. carrots, chopped in dice
1 large green pepper, chopped in dice
1 spring onion or leek, halved and cut into 1/2” slices
1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 qt. roasted tomatoes or 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 c. water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 whole Dungeness crabs, meat picked out
2 c. dry white wine
2 lbs. steamer clams, scrubbed
1⁄2 bunch parsley, chopped
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, green pepper, spring onion and fennel and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, 2 cups water, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, basil, and cayenne and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.
Transfer seafood to pot with sauce, and add crabmeat, cover, and simmer for 10–15 minutes.
Pour wine in a skillet over high heat. Add clams, cover and cook until shells open, about 5 minutes. (Discard any clams that don't open.) Add clams and broth to pot; adjust seasonings. Ladle soup into large bowls, garnish with parsley and serve.
This year's Crustacean Celebration also features a fabulous Crab and Corn Chowder and Crab Niçoise. Read last season's series starting with And They're Off!, and the previous year's series kicking off with a Hot Artichoke and Crab Dip (with links to other posts in the series).