Originating in San Francisco’s Italian-American community, this savory fish stew (pronounced chuh-PEA-no) can be adapted to accommodate almost any available seafood, such as crab claws, scallops, mussels, squid, or lobster. The key is variety. Don’t skip the sourdough toasts — you’ll want something to sop up the briny tomato broth.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
1½ cups dry white wine
2 bottles (8 ounces) clam juice
12 countneck clams
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on
1½ pounds firm white fish fillet (such as halibut), skinned and cut into 3-inch chunks
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. In a wide, heavy pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent. Add the crushed red pepper and tomato paste and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, wine, and clam juice, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. This can be done up to 2 hours ahead of time and kept warm, or done the day before and refrigerated.
2. About 15 minutes before you want to eat, return the broth to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the clams and cook until they are just beginning to open, about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish and continue to cook until shrimp are pink and fish is firm and white. Taste the broth and add more salt if you like. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley and sourdough garlic toasts.
Olive oil (for the pan)
1 loaf crusty sourdough bread, cut into ¾-inch slices
1 clove garlic, cut in half
1. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once it is shimmering, add as many slices of bread as will fit in one layer. Cook on both sides until brown and toasted.
2. Repeat with remaining bread and additional oil. Rub each slice with the cut side of garlic clove.
By Claudia Catalano. Originally published in The Boston Globe.