Cioppino: A Fine Kettle of Fish

I am half Sicilian, so a large part of the family does "The Seven Fishes" on Christmas Eve. I do not have the patience to make seven dishes. I make this instead — it uses five varieties of seafood, all in one pot. Now that's a happy holiday!
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 40 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 healthy servings
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Ingredients

1/4 cup (3 turns around the pan in a slow stream) extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 to 3 flat fillets of anchovies, drained

6 cloves garlic, crushed

1 bay leaf, fresh or dried

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup good quality dry white wine

1 (14-ounce) container chicken stock

1 (32-ounce) can chunky style crushed tomatoes

4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed (about 1 tablespoon)

1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 1/2 pounds cod, cut into 2-inch chunks

Salt and pepper

8 large shrimp, ask for deveined easy-peel or peel and devein

8 sea scallops

16 to 20 raw mussels, scrubbed

A loaf of fresh, crusty bread, for mopping

Directions

  1. In a large pot over moderate heat combine oil, crushed pepper, anchovies, garlic, and bay. Let anchovies melt into oil. The anchovies act as a natural salt, the pepper flakes will infuse the oil, providing heat.
  2. Chop celery and onion near stove and add to the pot as you work. Saute vegetables for a few minutes to begin to soften and add wine to the pot. Reduce wine a minute, then add chicken stock, tomatoes, thyme, and parsley. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to medium low.
  3. Season fish chunks with salt and pepper. Add fish and simmer 5 minutes, giving the pot a shake now and then. Do not stir your soup with a spoon after the addition of fish or you will break it up. Add shrimp, scallops, and mussels and cover pot. Cook 10 minutes, giving the pot a good shake now and again.
  4. Remove the lid and discard any mussels that do not open. Carefully ladle stew into shallow bowls and pass bread at the table.