MAINS/ Series/ Sunday Supper/ WINTER

Cioppino, San Francisco Fisherman’s Stew

Welcome to Sunday Supper! Today we have a beloved San Francisco dish. Invented in the late 1800’s by the Italian fishermen of San Francisco’s North Beach. Cioppino is a healthy, hearty tomato-based seafood stew that contained the leftover seafood from the day’s catch. So you can get creative with your favorite seafood and shellfish. I have a seafood blend from Trader Joe’s with scallops, shrimp and calamari. Also, I have some wild caught Alaska cod and Bar Harbor canned clams.

seafood stew, Cioppino

You can certainly go with fresh clams and mussels, shells and all, which is what you get when you order this at a restaurant, but I happened to have some seafood in the freezer! Crab meat would be another great addition. I found that if you have a generally well-stocked pantry, you may not even have to make a trip to the grocery store for this stew.

Cioppino Base

cioppino ingredients

This first ingredients for the Cioppino base are celery, onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Dice the onion and celery and mince the garlic cloves. Get a few tablespoons of olive oil hot in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the onion and celery soften, about 5-7 minutes.

celery and onions for cioppino

Then add the garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir to combine and cook one more minute. Then add the white wine, bring to a simmer and reduce by half, about 7-10 minutes.

I have a 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes that I crushed by hand. Also, I didn’t have vegetable broth on hand so I made some by dissolving a teaspoon and a half of Vegetable Better Than Bouillon in 1.5 cups of boiling water. I have two 6.5 ounce cans of Bar Harbor chopped sea clams in salt water. A classic Cioppino recipe will call for 8 ounces of clam juice, but I am just going to use the water that the clams were packed in. Although the clam juice will have a deeper clam flavor, the water has a briny flavor to it, which suits me fine.

Cioppino base

Once reduced, add the crushed tomatoes and their juice, the vegetable or seafood broth, clam juice (or liquid from the can) and bay leaves. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

After the base has simmered for 25-30 minutes, you can stop here and proceed with the addition of the seafood at a later time, even the next day, if you want. This a great one-pot stew to start early in the day, then finish with the seafood for dinner. If you do decide to do it this way, just be sure to bring the base back up to a boil and then simmer to thoroughly heat through before adding the seafood.

Adding the Seafood to the Cioppino

Add the clams, the scallops, shrimp and calamari. Then add the cod (halibut, bass or other white fish). Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes or until the seafood has become firm and opaque. Taste the broth and add more salt and pepper if desired. Stir in some fresh chopped flat leaf parsley and ladle into bowls. Serve with crusty sourdough bread.


This is such a wonderful stew! I didn’t add any more salt and pepper; the flavor is so rich from everything that went in it from the vegetable broth, to the crushed tomatoes. I have so many memories of eating this stew on foggy, cold winter (and summer) days in San Fransisco; it just hits all the right notes. Few things will warm you up and fill you with satisfaction on a chilly day like Cioppino.

Bite of Cioppino

Well everyone, I hope you give this old San Francisco stew a try. It’s naturally healthy and really easy. It comes together pretty quick and it’s super delicious! And in case you missed it, my New Year’s Day Black Eyed Peas are great all winter long! Thank you all for spending some of your Sunday with me, on Sunday Supper. Keep in touch, follow me on Instagram, facebook and Pinterest. Take care and be well! xo Kelly


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Dinner, Main Course American/Italian
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 4-8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time: ~45 Minutes Total Time: ~ 1 Hour

This tomato-based seafood stew is a naturally healthy, super comforting one-pot meal that you can make with any variety of seafood you like.


  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 2-3 Celery Ribs, diced
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 28-oz. Can San Marzano Tomatoes, hand crushed
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 8-oz. Bottle Clam Juice (can leave out and use the canned clam water)
  • 1.5 cups Seafood Stock or Vegetable Stock
  • 2 6.5-oz Cans of Clams (plus the packing water, if not using clam juice)
  • 1 16-oz. Bag of Shrimp, Scallops and Calamari (or any combination you prefer), defrosted
  • 1 lb. Skinless Flaky White Fish like Cod, Bass, Halibut, or Haddock, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2-3 tbsp. Flat-leaf Parsley, chopped



In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil.


Add onion, celery, salt, pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5-7 minutes.


Add the minced garlic and red-pepper flakes. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.


Add tomato paste and oregano and cook, stirring, 1 minute.


Add wine, raise heat to medium-high, and cook until cooking liquid is reduced by half, 5 to 7 minutes.


Add tomatoes with their juice, bay leaves, clam juice, and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25-30 minutes.


Taste and adjust seasoning.


Add clams, shrimp, calamari and scallops.


Arrange the fish on top of the stew, cover, and simmer until the fish and shrimp are firm and opaque, about 5 minutes more. Discard bay leaves and stir in parsley.

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  • Lynne Watson
    January 3, 2021 at 8:49 am

    This looks perfect for a cold, dreary, rainy day – exactly the kind of weather we’re having here today!

    Thank Kelly!

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 3, 2021 at 8:55 am

      Same here, Lynne. It’s been dreary and rainy for days. This stew definitely hit the spot! Let me know if you make it and how you like it. Thanks so much for stopping by, Lynne! xo Kelly

  • Arna
    January 3, 2021 at 11:34 am

    Added this to the menu for later this month. Will be perfect for a cold, gray January day.

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 3, 2021 at 11:39 am

      Perfect, Arna! I am sure you will enjoy it. It’s so perfect for a cold day. Thank you so much for stopping by today! Have a great rest of the weekend, xo Kelly

  • Suzanne Smith
    January 3, 2021 at 5:09 pm

    That looks warm and comforting. Yum. We are also in the midst of rain, cold, and more of the same. I’m ready for the sun. But then I remind myself of all the photos I’m seeing online of lots of snow, and I’m grateful we’re missing that. This looks like a keeper.

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 3, 2021 at 5:32 pm

      I got lucky today and the skies cleared and the sun shone. It was a nice respite from the grey. It’s chilly but clear. I am so happy to not live in a snowy place anymore! It’s beautiful, until you have to shovel the driveway and dig out the car…then, not so much! ? Try this one, Suzanne, I bet you’ll love it! xo Kelly