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Nor Cal Cioppino

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr 30 min
  • Cook: 2 hr
  • Yield: 8 servings
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1/4 cup olive oil

4 cups diced yellow onions

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup minced garlic

1/2 cup tomato paste

1 1/2 cups red wine

6 cups tomato sauce (recommended: San Marzano)

1/2 cup clam juice

1/4 cup lemon, juice

4 cups water

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons red chili flakes

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper

1-ounce Sambuca liqueur

4 pounds Dungeness crab, whole, cooked, cleaned, cracked and broken into 4 pieces

2 pounds littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed

2 pounds firm white fish, like cod or halibut, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 pounds shrimp, shell on, deveined

1 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley leaves

Fresh bread, for serving


  1. In a large stock pot over medium heat, add oil and saute onions, fennel, pepper and garlic until lightly browned. Add tomato paste and continue to cook until it browns. Add wine, tomato sauce, clam and lemon juices, water, bay leaves, red chili flakes, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and liqueur to the sauteed vegetables and simmer for 1 hour. Add crab to the sauce and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Add clams and let simmer for 5 minutes, then add in cod and cook 4 to 5 minutes. DO NOT STIR. To finish add, shrimp.
  2. Let cook 3 to 4 minutes until shrimp turn pink. Stir in parsley and serve immediately with fresh bread.