Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 8, 2021

© Hamid Attie

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Seafood cioppino

Fish and shellfish recommended by Vancouver's Ocean Wise program

This dish is available for lunch and dinner at the Joe Fortes Seafood and Chophouse restaurant in Vancouver — it’s so popular. Portioning the seafood into serving dishes can be tedious so for ease place the pot in the centre of the table and let everyone serve themselves!

Substitutions: You can substitute halibut or salmon with any other firm-textured fish.

3 tbsp. (45 ml) olive oil
¾ c. (180 ml) julienned white onions
¾ c. (180 ml) julienned carrots
3¾ c. (180 ml) julienned leeks, white part only
¾ c. (180 ml) julienned celery
¾ c. (180 ml) julienned fennel bulb
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. (5 ml) fennel seeds
1 tsp. (5 ml) fresh thyme leaves
½ c. (125 ml) tomato paste
8 c. (2 L) homemade or store-bought fish stock
pinch of saffron
1 tsp. (5 ml) sambal olek
1½ tsp. (8 ml) salt
1 tsp. (5 ml) black pepper
10 oz. (300 g) fresh salmon, skinless, boneless, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
10 oz. (300 g) fresh Pacific halibut, skinless, boneless, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 lb. (900 g) fresh whole Dungeness crab, cooked and cleaned (instructions follow) cut into 6 sections
18 whole fresh spot prawns
1 lb. (450 g) fresh clams, rinsed
1 lb. (450 g) fresh mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 tbsp. (15 ml) chopped fresh parsley crusty bread

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot that will fit all the seafood. Add the onions, carrots, leeks, celery, fennel and garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until softened. Add the fennel seeds, thyme and tomato paste, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fish stock, saffron, sambal olek, salt and pepper. Bring the broth to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Add the salmon, halibut, crab, spot prawns, clams and mussels.

When first placing the fish and shellfish into the simmering broth, stir it gently to coat all the seafood in the broth. Cover and let it simmer for approximately 4 to 6 minutes, or cook until clams and mussels open and the seafood is cooked. Do not over stir the soup or the fish will break into little bits. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve immediately with crusty bread on the side. Serves 6.

How to cook and prepare crab

Adding vegetables to the water is a French technique — a court bouillon. It will add extra flavour to your crab.

1 c. (250 ml) carrots, peeled and diced
1 c. (250 ml) diced celery
1 c. (250 ml) diced onion
2 c. (500 ml) white wine
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp. (45 ml) whole black peppercorns
¾ c. (180 ml) salt
¼ c. (60 ml) vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a large stockpot set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the carrots, celery and onion. When the vegetables begin to sizzle, stir well and cover the pot; cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine; add the bay leaf and peppercorns, and allow the liquid to reduce by half. Add enough water to boil the crabs (about 32 cups/8 L) and bring to a boil. Add the salt and crabs to the boiling water; return to a boil and cook 1½ to 2 ½ pounds (700 to 1150 g) crabs for 10 to 15 minutes; 3-pound crabs will take about 20 minutes. Plunge the crab into an ice bath consisting of equal parts ice and water. After 10 minutes, remove the crabs from the ice bath.

Crack the shells and remove the meat (use a wooden skewer to help coax the meat out of the nooks and crannies). Chill the crabmeat completely in the refrigerator. Once thoroughly chilled, pick over the meat to check for any wayward bits of shell. Drain well.

Tip: A single cooked, cleaned 1½ to 2 pound (700 to 900 g) Dungeness crab (with back shell) yields 7½ to 8 ounces (1 to 1½ cups) of meat.

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Showing 1 comments

  1. On August 12, 2015, David Spence said:
    Why does the recipe for the cioppino say to cut the crab into 6 pieces, while the recipe for preparing the crab says to take the meat out of the crab after it is cooked?

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