It’s been a big year of change for my family in California. I moved to Tokyo, and my sister and her family moved to Texas. My sister and I are opposites in so many ways, so my moving to a micro apartment and her moving into a small compound seems about right to us.
But, holidays traditions are built to last, and Christmas is always at my sister’s place. So family flew in from everywhere to prepare for the big day with one of my personal favorites: My brother-in-law Rich’s Christmas Eve Cioppino.
Cioppino is an seafood stew that originated from the Italian fishermen in San Francisco. Rich’s grandfather tested this recipe for years after first trying in in Fisherman’s Wharf. And as a SF local I can say, this is by far, the best I’ve ever tasted. Rich makes it every Christmas Eve and this year… he gave me the family recipe to share with y’all (he’s from Tennessee- go figure).
Rich’s Christmas Eve Cioppino (serves 15)
Vegis (all chopped finely… this takes the longest)
- 4 cups spinach
- 1 cup parsley
- 2 large green peppers
- 2 large onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 medium tomatoes
Herbs: (all crushed)
- 2 TSP basil
- 1 TSP thyme
- 1 TSP leaf sage
Fish (rinse thoroughly, de-beard the mussels)
- 2dz small clams
- 2 dz mussels
- 2 large cooked crabs
- 3 lbs white fish (he uses Alaskan Cod)
- 8 8oz cans of tomato sauce
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 3TSP salt
- 2TSP pepper
- 1 ½ cup white wine
Put oil, spinach, parsley, green peppers, onion, and garlic into a large stock pot. Cook slowly until soft. Add wine, tomato sauce tomatoes, herbs, salt, pepper. Simmer on low for at least an hour. Add fish, adjust seasoning if needed (you won’t). Simmer an additional 10-15 minutes.
Serve it with toasted French bread. Then lay down and wait for pie. Also a tradition. 😉