Cioppino, Italian Seafood Stew

My simple weeknight version takes half an hour and uses whatever happens to look good at the fish counter. I often make this dish with all shrimp or mussels. Yum!

For Christmas Eve or a special holiday meal, make the fennel tomato broth in advance at last minute poach the seafood.


  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • One small bulb fennel or anise, outer layer peeled, center core cut out, thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine or chicken broth
  • One 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes with juice
  • Big pinch crushed red pepper
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 pounds mixed seafood - example 1/2 pound shrimp, 1/2 pound scallops, 1 dozen cherrystone clams, 1 dozen mussels


  • Saute the garlic, fennel and shallot in the olive oil in a large deep skillet or pot over medium high heat until soft and just beginning to brown at the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the wine, tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes, bring to a boil, lower heat and barely simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • I gauge all my seafood cuts by the size of my shrimp - if the shrimp are large, I may leave large scallops whole. You want your seafood to cook to doneness at about the same time.
  • Just before serving poach seafood in the simmering tomato fennel broth until just cooked through, timing depends on the size of shrimp and scallops... simmer until mussels and clams open.
  • Do NOT overcook.
  • Serve in a deep bowl with a bit of torn fresh basil leaves and fennel fronds.