SF Style Cioppino


I love to make this SF Style Cioppino recipe this time of year.  We always have family over during the holidays and this is the perfect meal that is elegant in presentation, easy to prepare, light, healthy and oh’ so delicious!

Along the west coast, we get amazing Dungeness Crab which is in season beginning in mid-November, so timing is perfect.  Last year, unfortunately, we had no Dungeness Crab due to a neurotoxin called domoic acid, found in the crabs caused by warm ocean waters and algae growth.  Needless to say, this was a big bummer.  I love crab, even just on it’s own.   It can be served cold or warm with just a side of clarified butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon and some SF Sourdough bread, done.  I made this SF Style Cioppino last year, but substituted a few lobster tails for the crab.  It was still great, but I think the crab makes it…especially since it’s SF style!

Choosing the right bread is also important here.  A sourdough round warmed in the oven with garlic, butter and fresh parsley is perfection.  I included this at the bottom of my recipe as well…it’s a must.  Next time you want a lighter meal, this big bowl of beautiful seafood is your answer!  Grab a glass of Pinot Noir or Sangiovese which pairs perfectly with the tomato-based sauce and you will be in heaven!

SF Style Cioppino

SF Style Cioppino

This SF Style Cioppino is perfect to prepare around the holidays when you are looking for a light and delicious meal to serve family style!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 min
Total Time 2 hrs 31 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 people


  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 Carrots chopped into 1" chunks
  • 2 celery stalks chopped into 1" chunks
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves smashed
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley roughly chopped
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 4 Bay Leaves divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon Saffron
  • 2 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 Fennel bulb thinly sliced
  • 1 Shallot diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 5 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 1 28 oz. Can Crushed San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil chopped
  • 1 lb. clams
  • 1 lb. mussels
  • 1 lb. halibut
  • 1-1/2 lb. Shrimp
  • 2-3 lbs. crab
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter room temp
  • 2 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste


  • Start the seafood stock. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add roughly chopped carrots, celery, onion, garlic cloves and parsley. Add peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
  • Peel and devein shrimp. Add shells back into the stock and boil for about an hour, or up to 2-3 hours, if you have the time. The flavors will develop and intensify. If you add lobster tails, you can add them and cook for 4-5 minutes, remove from stock. Pull meat from shells, chop meat, reserve aside and add shells back to stock.
  • Strain stock into a bowl using a fine mesh strainer and add a pinch of saffron to the stock, set aside.
  • Add EVOO to large dutch oven over medium heat. Add thinly sliced fennel, shallot, pinch of salt and cook for about 10 minutes until translucent. Add minced garlic, cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, 2 bay leaves, dried oregano and tomato paste, cook for 2 minutes. Add a cup of white wine, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until reduced by half.
  • Add a 28 oz. can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes. Add 6 cups of the reserved homemade stock, cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Add fresh chopped parsley and basil.
  • Add in clams, mussles, fresh halibut (or another white flaky fish). Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes, until shells open. Add in shrimp and crab, stir to combine and serve immediately. Top with fresh parsley.
  • Garlic Bread recipe, below.


For Garlic Sourdough Bread:  Preheat oven to 400 F.  Combine 1/2 stick of room-temp butter, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/2 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley.  Cut the loaf into slices, but not all the way through.  Spread the butter in between each slice.  Place bread on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until warmed through and ready to serve. **If you don't have time to make the homemade seafood stock, you can substitute clam juice.


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