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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Quick and Easy Cioppino

It was cool enough for soup but warm enough to enjoy a light dinner in our three-season room, with an entertaining view of squirrels at play and birds at the feeders in our backyard. We often joke that the latter is evidence of our aging (or, as my younger husband likes to point out, MY aging).

This is my version of a recipe from Fresh and Simple Quick-Simmering Soups by Better Homes and Gardens. I added a few ingredients (wine, for one) for the Italian fish stew. While this doesn't have the depth of one made with homemade fish stock that simmers for hours, it's quite satisfying and fits a busy lifestyle.  I didn't have quite enough fish this time; you should be able to see more chunks.

This is a healthful dish; the only added fat is the little bit of olive oil in which you saute the vegetables. It's also flexible. You can use any boneless, skinless white fish. This time I used canned clams instead of shrimp because that's what I had on hand. Even when I use shrimp, I sometimes throw in a can of clams.

Quick and Easy Cioppino

2 sweet bell peppers (green, yellow or red), chopped
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, with juice

1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup white wine
1 14 oz. can clam juice or broth
12 oz. fresh cod fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 oz. peeled and deveined fresh shrimp (or 2 cans clams)
Small handful snipped, fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a  soup pot, cook sweet pepper and onion in hot oil until tender. Add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in undrained tomatoes, wine and clam broth (include broth from cans of clams, if using. Reserve clams to add near the end so they don't get tough). Bring to boiling.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in seafood. Return to boiling, then immediately reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for a few minutes, just till fish flakes easily and shrimp turn pink. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in basil and serve with crusty bread (great for getting that last bit out of the bowl).

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