Seafood Extravaganza - Cioppino

>> Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cioppino - Scrumptiously Fit Food

My better half, or so he would like to think, loves seafood and anytime there is seafood on the menu you can be sure that he’s going to order it, reminds me of the time when we were in Seattle a couple of years ago and he decided to order a dungeness crab sandwich because 1) it was full of crab and 2) did I mention that it had crab in it? While the rest of us ordered a clam chowder, oh don’t get me wrong, of course he also ordered the clam chowder as well because…it too had seafood in it. Then to top things off he had to order a full crab for dinner that night as well. So logically, as I was busying myself with errands this past weekend and had to leave it up to him to pull something together for dinner, you can assume what we had, which then made me curious. How nutritious is seafood or more so shellfish?

Nutrition Tidbit: I’ve always heard that seafood is full of protein, but also a lot of cholesterol. As always, fish is the healthiest with high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, especially in salmon, but you have to be careful of the mercury content, which have been found to be high in fishes like tuna, but what about shellfish? Well shellfish is chock full of protein, but beware of all the bacteria that it can harbour because they can be tramped in the shell or outer carapace and needs to be cooked through carefully before consumption. As for cholesterol, shrimp is usually known to rate the highest in cholesterol but remember ingesting cholesterol doesn’t necessarily raise our own cholesterol levels, you also have to watch saturated and trans fats. Like all other foods as long as they’re incorporated in to a healthy diet there is no reason why cholesterol should be a concern, plus think of all the crab sandwiches you could be missing!

So the first thing he did was go online and do a quick search for cioppino because honestly if you love seafood that much, cioppino is your heaven, fully loaded with crab, clams, calamari, shrimp and fish. I’ve also noticed that it’s been on a lot of restaurant menus as of late and after eating it a few times, I knew he wanted to try it himself. I suggested the Guy Fieri Nor Cal cioppino recipe and we were not disappointed, plus it was nice to have somebody cook dinner and really I can’t say that I too don’t enjoy my seafood, how else can I keep up with my so called better half?

Ingredients:¼ cup olive oil
4 cups diced yellow onions
1½ cups thinly sliced fennel
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup minced garlic
½ cup tomato paste
1½ cups red wine
6 cups tomato sauce (we used a can of crushed tomatoes instead)
½ cup clam juice
¼ cup lemon, juice
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons red chili flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
4 pounds Dungeness crab, whole, cooked, cleaned, cracked and broken into 4 pieces
2 pounds littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed
2 pounds halibut, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 pounds shrimp, shell on, deveined
2 cups squid, cut in to calamari rings (a little addition of our own)
1 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley leaves
Fresh bread, for serving (tasted great with sourdough)

Saute the onions, fennel, pepper and garlic over medium heat in a large stock pot.

Once they’re slight browned, add in the tomato paste and let it cook for 2-5 mins.

Slowly add in wine, tomato sauce, clam and lemon juices, water, bay leaves, red chilli flakes, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. The original recipe also called for 1 ounce of sambuca, which we left out but feel free to add it in here as well.

Allow the mixture to slowly simmer for about an hour or until 30 mins before serving, add in the crab and allow it to cook for another 20 mins.

Add in the clams, squid, halibut and shrimp to cook for another 5 mins.

Plate with the parsley, serve with the bread and enjoy.


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