When it comes to seafood for this Easy Cioppino, adapted from Food Network’s version, you can mix and match — if you don’t want mussels, use clams or shrimp; If you want crab, there’s no reason not to add that, too. Also, some recipes call for ripe, fresh tomatoes. Use those, if you have them, substituting for the 28 ounces of canned. Peel them (immerse for a half minute or so in simmering water, the skin slips off easily). Cut them up so they cook down as quickly as the other ingredients.
Quick and Easy (from Scratch) Cioppino
1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded and bulb cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
1 medium onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup full-bodied red wine such as Zinfandel or Syrah
1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
1 pound skinless fillets of thick white-fleshed fish such as halibut, hake, or pollack, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 pound cultivated mussels or 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Pulse fennel, onion, and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then stir in chopped vegetables, bay leaves, thyme, red-pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
Cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring once or twice, until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
Add tomatoes with their juice, water, wine, and clam juice and boil, covered, 20 minutes. Stir in seafood and cook, uncovered, until it is just cooked through and mussels open wide, 4 to 6 minutes (discard any that remain unopened after 6 minutes). If using shrimp, put them in a couple of minutes before the other seafood is done.
Discard bay leaves.
Adapted from Food Network recipe