The latest edition of Fine Cooking magazine arrived a few days ago and one of the first recipes I saw was for a Cod, Sausage, and Fennel Cioppino.

That’s all fine and good, but there is only one cioppino – it is Crab Cioppino – made with Dungeness Crab. I’m a San Franciscan. I know these things.

That being said, it’s cold outside and I had all the ingredients in the house to make the recipe. I’ve created worse culinary sacrileges in my life – and the recipe did sound intriguing… Into the kitchen I went…

I freely adapted the recipe, adding a lot more wine, garlic, carrots, bell pepper and I switched out the fennel seeds for fennel pollen – I had it in the cupboard. I used a can of diced tomatoes and some seasonings in place of the marinara. I also added a hefty amount of hot sauce, since Nonna wasn’t going to be eating it.

Cod, Sausage, and Fennel Cioppino

adapted from Fine Cooking

  • 6 oz. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small bulb fennel, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, sliced thin
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel pollen
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups bottled clam juice
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • hefty pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. skinless cod pieces, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • hot sauce, to taste

Break up the sausage and cook over medium-high heat. Add the onion, fennel, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic, and cook, until the vegetables begin to brown and become tender – about 6 minutes.

Add the wine and bring to a boil.  Add the clam juice, diced tomatoes, oregano, fennel pollen, and pepper flakes, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the fish and cook until the fish is cooked through – about 5 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and add hot sauce, as desired.

It wasn’t Dungeness Crab, but it wasn’t bad by any means. The broth was really rich and flavorful and every ingredient just complimented the next. A perfect meal for a snowy day – and no crab shells to deal with!

I can see more of this, this winter!