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Jan 10, 2002 05:35 PM

Cioppino-The Mystery Appeal

  • d

MarthaStewart Living calls it a "cherished regional
food tradition..the sort of thing Bay Area fisherman
used to simmer on their boats as they headed back to harbor." I don't know anyone who has even eaten that dish and it hasn't been popular on Fishermnans Wharf
sine the 50's.Maybe it has cult appeal w/ east Coast
food writers.

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  1. b
    Burke and Wells

    Hey Duke--

    Burke and I both had the Cioppino at the Tadich Grill during the holidays. It was fresh, warm, and we were hungry, and it came with very nice garlic sourdough, so all in all we were quite happy.

    However, the actual dish was high on oil and not much more flavorful than the quality of the seafood that went into it. Ultimately, neither of us consider ourselves cioppino fans, even though it did fill us up.

    In other words, it was probably a very, very good example of cioppino, therefore impossible to dislike, but hardly worthy of adulation as a dish in itself.


    P.S., the New England clam chowder at Tadich had whimpy, overcooked green bell peppers in it, which I hated--so much for bicoastal!


    1 Reply
    1. re: Burke and Wells

      Many years ago I developed my own recipe and make it at least once a year when crab is in season. If I'm cooking for us and not for guests, I use only live crab and don't bother with other shellfish. Very good and satisfying, as are most things one cooks to one's own taste!

      I prefer to saute the crab separately--never could relate to boiling tomato sauce. I do however put the cut-up crab plus all cooking juices (and, depending on how health-oriented I'm feeling, the tomalley as well) into the sauce and simmer a few minutes to combine.

    2. I visit SF often (at least several times a year since I'm just in LA) and the two "SF" foods that I always try to get while I'm in town is Clam Chowder and Cioppino. Yes, they are definitely "touristy" foods, but you can't find good cheap versions of either one down south.

      I can't recall any particular restaurant that had an amazing Cioppino, but just for the fact that I can't get it quite often in LA makes ordering it while I'm in SF worthwhile.

      1. It was very popular in the 70's. I used to get it at Little Joe's in NF. What is so mysterious? It's all about crab and shellfish.

        1. Hello Duke,

          I love cioppino & have come to make my own over the years, in fact I got to a point where it became a special dish I would make on xmas eve! But, alas, my current partner is allergic to seafood so I rarely make it anymore. Very sad indeed = (! Before I made it at home though I would order it in restaurants with zeal, but then found out how simple it really was to make. Try making it! The secret is to add the seafood at the last minute so it isn't overcooked & by the time u serve it is done. Enjoy!