If you work at the Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center, I hope you’ll attend our Friday Fresh Farmers’ Market’s third birthday party on May 12. Jeanne O’Reilly, our much-loved concierge, and colleagues are hosting the party. Early intelligence says Jeanne (pronounced “genie”) may be in a zucchini costume. By June, Kaiser Permanente markets will also have opened in Martinez, Walnut Creek, Roseville and Sacramento, bringing the number to almost thirty. The farmers appreciate your business. Without you, the markets wouldn’t thrive.
The weather has been winter-like, with 20-foot swells from Point Pinos and 60 miles out, which may limit the availability of crab. To make matters worse, local tomatoes with great flavor won’t be available for months. Being a pragmatic cook, I offer this excellent and simple recipe for cioppino that tastes great, even without crab (some say that’s heresy) and that uses canned organic tomatoes. Salt content is significantly more if you use bottled clam juice rather than fish stock. The soup’s saturated fat content is minimal per serving. This cioppino is excellent with any firm white fish of your choice, clams and mussels. Check seafoodwatch.org for the most up-to-date information on healthy fisheries and seafood choices. In response to the recent salmon recipe I sent out, I was reminded to encourage the purchase of wild caught salmon rather than farmed.
- 2 cooked crabs, cleaned and cracked if you can find them
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 medium leeks, white and pale green parts chopped or one onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 can (28-oz) diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- All these seafood amounts can be varied to suit you and the other diners
- 1/2 lb firm white fish cut into large chunks — more if no crab
- 1 dozen mussels
- 1 dozen clams
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté the leeks or onions until softened. Add the garlic and stir for about two minutes. Add 4 Tbsp parsley, the basil, oregano, pepper flakes and bay leaf. Stir one minute.
Add the wine and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally until almost all the wine (and alcohol) evaporates. Add the tomatoes with juice and fish stock or clam juice. Simmer for 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the mussels and cook covered for about 2 minutes. Add the clams and cook covered for another 2 minutes. Add the fish and/or crab and simmer until the fish is done and the shellfish opens. Discard any that do not open.
Sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Sourdough bread is almost mandatory.
Nutrition information (per serving)