Gulf Coast Cioppino

by Chef

Serves: 6


1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, roughly chopped 1 medium onion, medium diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 bay leaves
11?2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper akes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
11?2 cups chicken broth
1 cup red wine
1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
18 scrubbed and rinsed top neck Cedar Key clams 18 rinsed Pensacola bay oysters in their shell
18 medium grouper cheeks
Pinch kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
French baguette


Place fennel, onion and garlic in a food processor with a cutting blade and pulse to coarsely chop. Heat oil in a 3-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat, and then stir in chopped vegetables, bay leaves, thyme and red pepper akes. 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. Simmer gently, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add clams, oysters, and grouper cheeks. Cook a few minutes, partially covered, until sh turns white and shell sh open, for 6 to 8 minutes. Serve with grilled or baked French bread.