A cioppino, as many of us know it, has it’s origins in the area surrounding San Francisco Bay. Think of it as a product of the American melting pot; the mixing of various seafaring cultures. Although cioppino can be a pretty elaborate dish with all the various seafood that can go into this soup…stew…soup…it’s one of those dishes you can make with whatever you have on hand. They key mandatory ingredient, however, is fish. It is a fisherman’s stew after all.
Now you all know how I’m always making many of my dishes on the fly. This cioppino is no different. Man, Shawn and I were starving that night. Shawn was being picky, too. “Nothing heavy,” he told me over the phone as he was making his way up I-95. I think he was feeling sensitive about his weight lol. There was a bag of frozen mahi mahi fillets in the freezer, and now we have this yummy recipe. The version I am sharing with you today is a more refined version of what I what I made that night, since I had more planning time for ingredients this go around!
Cioppino with Mahi Mahi
- 12 ounces Mahi Mahi fillets
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
- 1 zucchini, cut into half moons (appx 2 cups)
- 1 small sweet onion, sliced thin (appx 3/4 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup vegetable, fish, or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- brown sugar (optional)
- Pat mahi mahi fillets dry and cut into large chunks. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
- Add onions and saute until they start to soften, then add the garlic. Continue to saute until fragrant and onions are translucent.
- Pour diced tomatoes and broth over the onions and garlic. Stir and heat to a low boil.
- Add bay leaf, red pepper flakes (optional), and salt and pepper to the pan. Cook for a minute or two to allow flavors to begin infusing.
- Add zucchini and bring back to a simmer. Allow squash to cook for about two minutes.
- Spread mahi mahi evenly in the pan. Ensure fish is covered in as much of the broth as possible.
- Cook mahi mahi for three minutes. Turn fish so that it cooks evenly. Add basil and parsley. Stir and continue to simmer until fish is cooked, about 2-3 more minutes.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste if needed. If the broth is too sour (something I always find when using canned tomatoes), sprinkle in 1/4 teaspoon of sugar to help balance the flavor.
- Serve cioppino in a bowl with lots of the broth. I chose to serve mine over spaghetti, but rice or even a side of crusty bread will work delightfully as well.