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True North Salmon and Shellfish Cioppino

True North Salmon and Shellfish Cioppino
Ingredients for the base:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • A handful of parsley stalks, 3–4 Thyme sprigs, 1 small bay leaf, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1 teaspoon white peppercorns, tied in a square of cheesecloth for a herb bouquet
  • 5–6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped leeks, white and light green parts
  • 3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes (Pomì preferred)
  • 4 cups Fish Fumet (recipe below), Shellfish Stock or Clam Juice from a can
Ingredients for the seafood:
  • 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1/2 pound medium (31–35) shrimp, shelled, tails left on, and deveined
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
  • 1 pound marinated True North Salmon
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Ingredients for Fumet: Makes about 4 cups
  • 1 large onion, cut into very thin slices
  • 2 large shallots, cut into very thin slices
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into very thin slices
  • Stalks and fronds from 1 fennel bulb, cut into very thin slices (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
  • 3 pounds fish frames and heads (see the box)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups water
For serving:
  • 1 pound linguine or fun shaped pasta like calamarata


Directions for the base:


  1. Heat a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. When the pot is hot, pour in the oil and add the onions, celery, and herb bouquet.

  2. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and leeks and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  3. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and white pepper, and sauté until the mushrooms have softened and are starting to release their juices, 3 to 4 minutes.

  4. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, to cook off most of the alcohol.

  5. Add the tomatoes and fumet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

  6. Turn off the heat and let the base rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour before proceeding.

  7. The cioppino will be even better if you make the base a day ahead and refrigerate it. Either way, take the bouquet out after it’s cooled.


Notes about Fumet:

This is it, folks: classic fish stock. Make extra and freeze it in 1-cup amounts so you’ll be sure to have it on hand. Some of the prepared stuff is fine, but it will never compare in flavor to the fumet you’ve made yourself.

Make life easy on yourself and ask your fish monger to split the fish heads.

Fumet doesn’t spend a lot of time on the heat, because longer cooking would bring out the impurities and cloud the stock.  Cut the aromatics very thin, to get the most out of them.  The fennel adds a fresh edge; add it if you have it.

Olive oil will add richness, but it’s not essential.


Directions for the seafood and pasta:


  1. Bring the base back to an active simmer over medium-high heat. Add the clams and simmer for 2 minutes.

  2. Add the shrimp, bring back to a simmer, and cook for 1 minute.

  3. Stir in the marinated salmon and bring to a simmer, slow down the simmer and slowly cook for a minute or so.

  4. Stir in the crabmeat and parsley.

  5. Meanwhile, put a large pot of salted water up to boil when you start bringing the base back to a simmer. Cook the pasta until al dente.

  6. Drain the pasta and divide among six soup plates. Ladle the cioppino on top and serve right away.

  7. VARIATION: Serve the cioppino over croutons instead of over linguine.

Directions for the fumet:


  1. Layer the onion, shallots, celery, and fennel, if using, in a wide stockpot - you want lots of surface area. Drizzle with olive oil if you’re using it.

  2. Take out your heaviest knife and chop into the spine of the fish frames, on both sides, in about 2-inch intervals. You’re just cracking that bone open, not trying to cut the frames into pieces. Wash the heads and frames under cold water to get rid of as much blood as possible. Season the frames and heads with salt and set them on top of the vegetables.

  3. Cover the pot and set it over medium-low heat. Sweat the aromatics and bones for about15 minutes, until the bones are just opaque.

  4. Add the wine and water—the liquid should barely cover the bones—and bring to a simmer. This will take about 12 minutes. When you have a slow simmer with lazy bubbles, set the timer and simmer for 15 minutes.

  5. Cover the pot and take it off the heat. Let it sit for at least 1 hour.

  6. Strain, pushing down on the solids to get all the liquid out of them. The fumet will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator and 3 months in the freezer.

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