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Tasty Side to Life Tours Website

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A San Francisco Cioppino Night in Paris

Had a great little SF inspired Cioppino dinner last night with friends in Paris. Nothing like a huge Californian salad, a big bowl of Cioppino for 8 and a mousse for dessert. Of course complimented with lots of pastis, french wine and big 'ol slices of french market country bread!

I somehow was lucky enough to score a 200 meter apartment and my table has 10 chairs so it simply inspires you to entertain. I mean you can't just eat cereal alone every day at a table like this. You have to make use of it, right? We'll I do my best. I wanted to make a stress-free meal and I thought Cioppino was the perfect dish. Usually I obsess over the art and design of plating which I sincerely love (especially coming from a family of artists I think it's my one form of expression) but this time, with 8, I wanted to create a more "easy, breeezzzy" atmosphere with huge bowls and a serve yourself environment. It turned out very tasty and the recipes are below. Bon Appetite et bon courage!!! x

Cioppino for sure a real deal San Francisco original, which has been infamous since the 1850s by a Genoese immigrant Giuseppe Bazzuro who changed his native ciuppin—which means "little soup" into a rich, luxurious and oh so fragrant stew using local delicacies like dungeness crab, clams, tons of veggies and a good amount of wine.

A few solid Tbls extra-virgin olive oil

½ stick of butter

2 small yellow onions, peeled and chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 rib celery, diced

1 leek, white part only, trimmed, cleaned, and chopped. Also a bit of the green for flavor (washed well)

1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced thin

2 28-oz. cans crushed Italian tomatoes

2 tbsp. tomato paste

6 bay leaves
 (Make sure to remove before serving)

1 handful. dried oregano

1 small handful dried thyme

1 tsp. fresh basil

2 pinches of piment d'espelette (if you can find it if not cayenne)

Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
 (2 cloves roasted to rub on the bread)

1 1⁄2 lbs. halibut filet, cut into large pieces

16 sea scallops

16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1–2 cups flour

12 oz. crabmeat, preferably dungeness, pick out all shells

2 cups dry white wine

1 cup Sweet Vermouth

16 manila clams, scrubbed

1⁄2 bunch parsley, chopped

1. Heat up a few tbsl of the oil and a few tbsps. of the butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Add diced garlic and sweet. Do not brown the onions. Next add carrots, celery, a bit of the celery leaves, leeks, leek greenery and fennel. Cook, stirring often, for about 5-7 mins. Add tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes longer. Now deglaze with the sweet vermouth. Pour in a few tbls and cook down. Repeat 3 times to fully dilute the alcohol. Add crushed tomatoes, 4 cups water, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, basil, and piment d'espelette and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 + hours. Every time the liquid is getting low add more water. Repeat 3 times to create a very intense, aromatic flavor.

2. Turn the oven on to 400 and roast the head of the garlic.

3. When sauce looks to almost be done heat remaining few tbls of oil, 8 tbsp. butter, and add diced garlic in a large, heavy skillet over high heat until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Working in 2 batches, dredge halibut, scallops, and large and bay shrimp in flour, shaking off excess, and fry, turning seafood frequently, until golden, 1–2 minutes.

4. Toast the bread in a pan that will give it char marks if you have it. Take a huge loaf of sourdough or country bread and cut it into large slices. Spread with the roasted garlic and a good layer of butter. Brown on a hot pan for a few minutes on each side. Reserve.

5. Now fill another pan with a few cups of wine, bay leaves, thyme, parsley and add the clams. Cover, leave on high and steam for a few minutes until all are open. Any that don’t open throw away. Transfer clams to the pot with sauce and add their cooking liquid. (You need to have scrubbed your clams well to make sure there is no sand in here). Transfer the rest of the seafood to the sauce and add crabmeat, cover, and simmer for 10–15 minutes. Adjust salt, take out the celery leaves, bay leaves, leek greenier and ladle the soup into a huge bowl for presentation. Garnish with loads of parsley and fresh basil and a few turns of pepper. Serve with toasted sourdough bread and the Salad and lots of napkins :)

Serve it with a HUGE Longhi's Salad http://thetastysidetolife.blogspot.com/2010/01/longhis-inspired-longhi-salad.html

and White Chocolate, Lemon and Stawberry Mousse
http://thetastysidetolife.blogspot.com/2010/08/strawberry-and-white-chocolate-mousse.html which you can prepare on a table in front of guests. Of course compliment with loads of pastis, Bordeau and some small producer Champagne (My choice was Paques and Fils from Rilly La Montagne for this meal)
The Table setting ready to go
Group of Friends + Roommate
The Dessert table- White Chocolate Mousee, then a layer of strawberries, followed by lemon mousse and topped with a layer of strawberries and a butter cookie

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