One thing is true about living landlocked: good seafood is hard to come by. Sure, there are special restaurants. Sushi joints, oyster bars, and rainbow trout on most "locavore" menus, but that's about where it ends. Scallops are a freezer-isle item. If they aren't in the freezer-isle, it doesn't mean they aren't frozen, it just means they're at the butcher's counter with the other imported seafood.
I've heard the raving: clam chowder is great, right? I wouldn't know. It's not really something people do when the ocean is hundreds of miles away. Lobster bisque, cioppino, jambalaya? We miss out on those too.
This means I'm sort of a seafood noob. Yup. We buy scallops on occasion and usually we're at such a loss that all we do is fry them in the skillet and add a bit of lemon and a dash of cayenne. Not this time: for once it was going to be better. It was going to be Cioppino.
As a seafood noob I'm not really qualified to review this cioppino. As an eater, I can tell you that I was not disappointed.
What's your best seafood recipe? Do you have a fall-back seafood indulgence?
1 medium white onion
1 stalk celery
1 large carrot
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 tablespoon sage, minced
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1/4 cup dry wine
2 sixteen-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
3 cups fish stock
1/4 pound firm white fish (I use mahi-mahi)
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound PEI mussels, scrubbed and debearded if not already
1/4 pound scallops
1. Heat the coconut oil in the bottom of a large soup pot. Chop the onion and celery into small pieces, and brown in the pot.
2. Meanwhile, dice the carrot and parsnip into small pieces, and mince the garlic. Once onions have are translucent, add all three to the pot, stirring. Add the wine, red chile, and sage.
3. Pour in the tomatoes and broth. Add half of the parsley. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, until soup base is fragrant and simmering. Meanwhile, prepare your seafood.
4. Chop the fish into 1-inch cubes, debeard the mussels, rinse the scallops, etc. Once the soup base is simmering, drop the shrimp, fish, and scallops into the pot, stirring once, and then covering the pot and cooking for 3-5 minutes.
5. Give the soup one final stir (over stirring with break up your fish too much), and sprinkle mussels over top. Cover the pot once more, cooking about 5 minutes, or until all of the mussels have opened.
6. Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve hot!