Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

September 26, 2021

© James Baigrie

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Sailors’ Shellfish Stew

This stew, also known as cioppino originated in the San Francisco Bay area, in the days when returning fishermen used scraps from their haul to make a delicious stew

¼ c. (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) dried oregano
1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) dried basil
1/8 tsp. (0.5 ml) red pepper flakes
1½ c. (375 ml) white wine
One 28- to 32-oz. (875-ml to 1-L) can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 Tbsp. (45 ml) tomato paste
One 8-oz. (250-ml) bottle clam juice
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 large Dungeness crab or 4 large king crab legs, cracked and cut into bite-size pieces
2 lobster tails, split and cut into 1-inch (2-cm) chunks
1 lb. (500 g) sea bass, cut into 1-inch (2-cm) chunks
¾ lb. (375 g) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
24 littleneck clams, shells scrubbed
½ c. (125 ml) finely chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, oregano, basil and red pepper and sauté until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce by half.

Transfer the contents of the pan to the insert of a 5- to 7-quart (5- to 7-L) slow cooker. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, clam juice, bay leaf and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours. Add the crab, lobster, sea bass, shrimp and clams. (The shells from the seafood add flavour; cut them with kitchen shears so they're easier to dig into when served.) Cover and cook on low for 1 hour, until the shrimp are pink and the clams have opened. Discard the bay leaf and any clams that have not opened.

Carefully stir the stew, being careful not to break up the sea bass chunks. Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty sourdough bread. Serves 8.

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