Contributed by Preston Maring, MD


So many versions of fish stew.  Where to start?  Here's a good place to start particularly in the winter. This spicy tomato based stew goes well with many kinds of seafood so you can tailor the ingredients to fit your budget. Squid is high in protein and not expensive. Mussels cost less than clams. Rock cod costs less that shrimp or scallops or fresh crab.

I suggest you at least double this recipe then freeze whatever you don't need for the first meal. This makes for a very simple middle of the week dinner - thaw the cioppino while you are at work, heat it up with fish of your choice, serve it with a little whole grain bread to mop it up and a big salad.

Servings: 6


  • 4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoons crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 big can no added salt plum tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • Fish of your choice (see above) with enough for a generous serving per person
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil


  1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  
  2. Saute the onion, garlic, bay leaf, oregano, chilies, salt, and pepper until the onion is softening.  
  3. Add the green pepper and tomato paste. Saute another minute. 
  4. Add the wine, bring to a boil, then simmer until it is reduced by half.  
  5. Add the tomatoes and juice and fish stock. Coarsely chop the tomatoes in the pot.  Bring to a boil then simmer covered for about 30 minutes.  
  6. Find the bay leaf and remove it.  
  7. If using mussels or clams, simmer them covered for about five minutes before you add the other fish. Then cook it some more covered until the shells open. Discard those that don't.  
  8. Sweep in the parsley and basil and season to taste.  You are going to like this.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 259
  • Total fat: 9 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Trans fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 84 mg
  • Sodium: 655 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 13 g
  • Dietary fiber: 2 g
  • Total sugars: 0 g
  • Protein: 21 g

Note: Nutritional calculation includes 8 ounces each of mussels, shrimp, and cod.