My husband has been making this cioppino with clam and mussels recipe for a few years now. We both love seafood and had ordered this out many times, but my husband thought he could do better. He was right.
Why We Love this Recipe
We started with a recipe from The Food Network by Giada De Laurentiis. My husband has tweaked this recipe a few times, and he's finally hit on the perfect combination of ingredients. We switched out the dry white wine for dry red, as well as the fish stock for clam juice, and the flavors were wonderful.
Of course, the most important thing is the seafood. You must buy the freshest seafood you can find. Not all grocery stores have super-fresh seafood, a local fishmonger is best.
We have a seafood store not too far from my house, and I try to make a trip there when we want to make fish or other seafood dishes, but for this stew, we had a couple of really special ingredients.
Penn Cove Shellfish sent me mussels and clams from Whidbey Island in the Pacific Northwest to see what I could create with them. The first dish I made was drunken mussels with a recipe Penn Cove had sent me. The white wine sauce was incredible.
The flavor of clam and mussels gave this cioppino such a tasty broth, I don't know if we'll be able to settle for shellfish from anywhere else! I wish we were having this again for dinner tonight!
How to Make Cioppino
Gather your ingredients. You will need fresh clams, mussels, shrimp, and fish. There is no doubt the freshness of the clams and mussels, along with buying super fresh fish, made all the difference.
You will also need good quality olive oil, fennel, onion, shallots, garlic cloves, tomatoes, tomato paste, clam juice, red wine, a bay leaf, salt, crushed red pepper, and optional fresh parsley. Really, the hardest part of this recipe is the chopping, which isn't a lot. It's a super easy dish to make.
Mussels are usually debearded when purchased, but if they still have beards, remove them with a tug just before cooking. Scrub mussels and clams lightly under cool water until the water runs clear. Discard any with broken shells.
Peel and devein shrimp.
Cut fish into 2 inch, bite-sized pieces. Place all seafood in a large bowl and refrigerate covered with a damp cloth until ready for use.
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt, stirring with a slotted spoon until it softens, about 10 minutes. Your kitchen will fill with the scent of these aromatic vegetables!
To be honest, these veggies are my favorite ingredients to start any soup or stew, the flavors blend so perfectly together.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook 2 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes with juice, clam juice, bay leaf, and red wine.
Cover and bring to a simmer, making sure to scrape up any of the veggies from the bottom of the pan.
Reduce to medium-low heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Add clams and mussels into the simmering tomato broth. Cover and cook, about 5 minutes, until clams and mussels have opened.
Add fish and shrimp and stir very gently, cooking for about 5 minutes or until done.
Any clams or mussels that have not opened should be discarded.
Ladle the Cioppino into serving bowls and top with parsley if you'd like.
Serve this clam and mussels recipe with a loaf of crusty bread for dunking and you're set!
I can't wait to see what you think of this recipe. It's really one of our favorites!
Frequently Asked Questions
You could add potatoes, leeks, cherry tomatoes, fresh parsley or other herbs. Get creative and let me know what you do!
Any seafood would probably be delicious. I might try crab meat and scallops.
Only use the freshest of seafood when making this dish.
You could also replace the clam juice with homemade shrimp stock.
Once you get to the end of the process, you are only letting the seafood cook until done. Be careful not to overcook it.
On another night, you've got to try this cast iron chicken thighs recipe. It's easy and so good!
What's your favorite clams and mussels recipe?
Like our content? Follow us on Pinterest!
Ciopinno with Clams and Mussels
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 fennel bulb sliced thin
- 1 onion diced
- 3 shallots large, diced
- 4 cloves garlic chopped, equaling about 4 teaspoons
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ C tomato paste
- 28 ounces tomatoes chopped, with juices.
- 1 ½ C dry red wine
- 5 C clam juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb clams
- 1 lb mussels
- 1 lb shrimp large, uncooked
- 1 ½ lbs fish We used cod, but snapper or halibut would also be good. The fish should be uncooked.
- Mussels are usually debearded when purchased, but if they still have them, remove them just before cooking and rinse lightly under cold water. Refrigerate until ready for use.
- Peel and devein shrimp. Refrigerate until ready for use.
- Cut fish into 2 inch, bite-sized pieces. Refrigerate until ready for use.
- Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat.
- Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt, stirring until it softens, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes with juice, clam juice, bay leaf, and red wine.
- Cover and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add clams and mussels. Cover and cook, about 5 minutes, until clams and mussels have opened.
- Add fish and shrimp and stir very gently, cooking for about 5 minutes.
- Any clams or mussels that have not opened should be discarded.
- Serve cioppino in bowls with bread on the side for dunking.