San Francisco’s Cioppino is simply a delicious fish stew. San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf is known for Cioppino a dish full of seafood with a tomato sauce base. The main ingredient is the Pacific Ocean’s Treasure – Dungeness Crabs. Sometimes we get told that it can only be made with live DungenessCrabs. Not true! Our Dad, Serge, made San Francisco’sCioppino sometimes using local live Dungeness crabs and other times he used cooked crabs. His secret was in the sauce. He would always add brandy or bourbon -as he sautéed his onions. The flavor that the brandy or bourbon gave the San Francisco’s Cioppino had us dipping the bread in the sauce or licking our fingers after we ate the crabs. I’ve taken the dish to a potluck dinner where there were lots of teens. I thought that only the parents would eat it. Lo and behold as the teens went by I saw Cioppino on their plates! Everyone needed a wet towel to clean their fingers after enjoying the last drop of the San Francisco’s Cioppino. Don’t forget the Sourdough bread!
Lots of tourists visit daily at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf and eat Cioppino at one of the many seafood restaurants. For those in a rush and don’t have time to make the sauce from scratch we sell a Cioppino Sauce in a jar that is the perfect base for your fish stew. It’s really hard some days walking up and down the wharf looking at those tourist indulging in delicious Cioppino. I want to sit down and eat with them!
1. Detach the legs and claws from the bodies of the Dungeness Crabs.
2. Place the clams in a pan with 1 cup of wine and steam covered for 5 minutes or until the clams open.
3. Remove clams from shell.
4. Save the clam and wine juice.
5. Heat oil in a large pot.
6. Saute onion, garlic, and herbs for about 5 minutes.
7. Add the bourbon or brandy for flavor.
8. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, remaining wine, and clam juice.
9. Simmer for 20 minutes.
10. Add fish, scallops, prawns, and crabs.
11. Simmer for 5 minutes. DO NOT STIR.
12. Add the clams and heat for 2 minutes.
Serve the Cioppino from the pot!
When I make this recipe I leave my clams in their shell. I also add some mussels too.
Deviled Crab Meat was Nonno Tom’s favorite seafood meals. He enjoyed eating! Nonno Tom (Tom Lazio) would unload the harvest from the local San Francisco crab boats. He’d give the orders to his men to cook up some of the fresh catch. Next, either he would pick the crab himself or have one of his employees pick the meat out of the body and legs of those fresh Dungeness Crabs. He’d bring home fresh Dungeness Crab Meat for my grandmother to make just one of his special seafood dishes – Deviled Crab Meat. Before he could make walk into the house he’d have to change his clothes outside, put them directly into the washing machine, and head to his bathroom for a shower. The Deviled Crab Meat didn’t take long so by the time he was freshly showered smelling of soap and Lilac Vegetable After Shave dinner was ready.
I whipped up a very large batch of the Deviled Crab Meat for an Crab Fest event at Macy’s Union Square. I showed everyone how to crack the crab showing them my secret for getting the most meat out of. I also shared this delicious recipe. Everyone enjoyed their taste of the Deviled Crab Meat!
Nonnie's Deviled Crab Meat
Easy recipe using fresh Dungeness Crab Meat. Ideal for a family meal or Potluck main course. Festive when you bake in individual clam shells.