Portuguese-Style Gulf Coast Cioppino

by Chef

Serves: 6


1 fennel bulb, rough chopped
1 medium onion, medium diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
1½ teaspoons dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (12-ounce) box chicken broth
1 cup red wine

1 (12-ounce) box clam juice
1 pound skinless fillets of thick, white-fleshed fish such as grouper cut into 2-inch chunks

1 pound skinless fillets of triggerfish cut into 2-inch chunks

1 pound middle neck or top neck clams, scrubbed and rinsed
1 pound cultivated mussels

Pinch sea salt

Freshly cracked black pepper


Place fennel, onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse to coarsely chop. Heat oil in a 6-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat and stir in chopped vegetables, bay leaves, thyme and red pepper flakes. Lightly season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Cook covered, over medium heat, stirring once or twice, until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, broth, wine, and clam juice and simmer gently, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Add clams first and simmer until they all open, 4 to 6 minutes. Fish out the clams with a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon and place them in a large bowl. Add the grouper and triggerfish and cook a few minutes, partially covered. Add mussels and cook until opened and the fish is cooked through. Just before serving add the open clams and juice back to cioppino.