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Crab Cioppino

Tim Dineen

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 750ml bottle Red wine
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a 28-to 32-ounce can whole tomatoes including juice, pureed coarse
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 lb fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 live Dungeness crabs
  • 12 small hard-shelled clams
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp
  • 1/2 pound sea scallops
  • 1 pound scrod or other white fish fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

In a heavy kettle cook garlic in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until pale golden. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened. Add pepper flakes and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until softened. Add vinegar and boil until evaporated. Add wine, oregano, and bay leaf and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in tomato puree and tomato paste, fish stock or water and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes.

Add crabs and clams and simmer, covered, 15 to 20 minutes, transferring clams as they open to a bowl (discard unopened ones).

Transfer crabs to a cutting board and remove top shells, adding any crab liquid to soup. Halve or quarter crabs (depending on size) and reserve, with any additional liquid, in a bowl.

Add shrimp, scallops, and fish to soup and simmer, covered, 5 minutes, or until seafood is just cooked through. Stir in crabs, their liquid, and clams and sprinkle with parsley.

Serve with warm, crusty sourdough french bread.

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