10 Jan2012

We try to make this dish at least once a year; almost always when we are at the beach house and have access to the seafood from the Nasugbu market. Over the years, I have learned to rely more heavily on local Batangas produce and catch, and cart less and less food from Manila. But I have had to make adjustments based on what I find, which, more often than not, is an incomplete list of ingredients if you had to strictly follow a preferred recipe. The way I approach this dish today increasingly mirrors the simple roots of the dish, Italian fishermen docking in San Francisco and making a hearty soup out of whatever catch they had that perhaps didn’t sell or wasn’t sought after. While it’s contents change from time to time, it never fails to satisfy…

Last weekend, while hosting friends who hosted us when we were last in San Francisco, I thought giving them a taste of home might be nice after three weeks on the road… I managed to find a single spiny lobster, a bargain at PHP400 for 700grams and just right for four people, some nice white shrimp (suahe), a whole lapu-lapu, squid, some slices of tangigue or spanish mackerel, and bisugo or bream for the fish broth.

I have two previous posts on Cioppino, here and here, and a full recipe is to be had in one of those links. But notice just how different the soup can look, based on what you find in the market, and how fancy you want to get with the presentation! In this version, there were no crabs at all but it still turned out well. Just saute garlic and onion and some fresh tomatoes in some olive oil. Deglaze with white or red wine, add some tomato paste if you have it or just some canned plum tomatoes, a nice homemade fish stock and season to taste. I like to add some crushed dried red chili for heat as well. Once you have the broth to your liking (I like it rather light), then add the seafood and cook until just done. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with some toasted bread brushed with oil and garlic.

If you read through the two other posts, and add the following tips, you should have a great version. I filleted the lapu-lapu rather than putting in whole slices with bones. I sliced the squid into really thin ribbons and added them to the broth last, just seconds before turning off the heat. The lobster was just for a touch of luxury, and everyone just had a bite or two, and if you had crabs, they wouldn’t miss the lack of lobster. Keep tasting your broth to ensure it has enough seasoning. Serve with a refreshing green salad and chat late into the evening… :)



  1. Papa Ethan says:

    Great, I get to comment first! Thanks for sharing this recipe, MM. It’s a much simpler version of bouillabaise, I think. Definitely worth trying in this season of colds and runny noses. :-)

    Jan 10, 2012 | 7:17 am


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  3. Jeff says:

    sarap naman….

    Jan 10, 2012 | 8:03 am

  4. PITS, MANILA says:

    just imagining how comforting this would be …

    Jan 10, 2012 | 8:26 am

  5. Betchay says:

    It is more Fun in the Philippines because….. of the abundance of sweet tasting fresh seafood!!!!

    Jan 10, 2012 | 9:07 am

  6. bakerwannabe says:

    How true Betchay. I really miss the fresh seafood. It does not taste the same here in the US where everything is frozen unless one lives pretty close to the fishing docks. But even then one has to compete with the wholesale buyers and restaurants.

    Jan 10, 2012 | 10:01 am

  7. natie says:

    Wow!! that really looks so good, MM, I can taste it!

    Jan 10, 2012 | 12:04 pm

  8. bearhug0127 says:

    Cooking. It’s more fun in the Philippines!
    Late nights! It’s more fun in the Philippines!
    Entertaining. It’s more fun in the Philippines!

    Jan 10, 2012 | 2:49 pm

  9. bakerwannabe says:

    BTW it is Chinese New Year on January 23. Year of the Dragon. That’s my year. Will be cooking all day on january 22 and probably few days before as well

    Jan 10, 2012 | 3:43 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    bakerwannabe, so you are 24, 36 or 48 years old this year. I am a Dragon too.

    Jan 10, 2012 | 5:37 pm

  11. Nadia says:

    Cheers to the dragons! I’m a dragon too…turning 36 this year! So MM…you stopped at 48…is that a clue of your age? :)

    Jan 10, 2012 | 5:52 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    Nadia, hahaha, yes, but just didn’t want to suggest bakerwannabe was 60 or 72… better to err on 12 years old, don’t you think? :)

    Jan 10, 2012 | 6:00 pm

  13. ariel says:

    Living in the bay area, I feel like cooking one of these with some crabs. Nice comfort food by the beach. When I served in the Navy, I used to order bouillabaisse from Barrio Fiesta when we pulled in the Philippines.

    Jan 10, 2012 | 10:42 pm

  14. bakerwannabe says:

    It is our year. Going to be a great one. MM I am 12 years older than you. I do traditional Chinese New Year every year with friends and family coming over for the eve celebration. Getting all excited just talking about it.

    Jan 11, 2012 | 1:07 am

  15. Meg says:

    I luv, luv this dish, very light and healthy. The best version of this cioppino in Northern California can be eaten not in San Francisco but at Phil’s Fish Market near Santa Cruz, in a town named Moss Landing. Im 48 this year, a true dragon, but we always think that 40’s is the new 20’s, dragons are always feisty and can easily get what they want. Hooray for all the dragons out there.

    Jan 13, 2012 | 2:45 am

  16. betty q. says:

    Bakerwannabe…are you of Chinese descent? I am curious if there is any truth to the saying or if it is just old wives’ tale that if it is your year, it is best that you be careful for you might run into bad luck? A friend of ours (true bloodied Chinese) who was born in the Year of the Rat told my hubby ( a dragon, too) that he should be careful this year. Apparently, our friend must have run into some bad luck last year(his year!)

    Jan 13, 2012 | 5:49 am

  17. marissewalangkaparis says:

    yumm… makes me hungry…..i am a dragon…it is our year! Dragons are always lucky!!!! Same age as bakerwannabe!!!!!

    Jan 14, 2012 | 4:49 am

  18. lee says:

    Cioppino reminds me of a very traditional way of foraging for seafood and cooking them all together in one dish. “Panulo” or foraging in low tide with a “sulo” or torch is a local tradition I experienced in the estuary of Bais City, Negros Occidental many years ago. The general idea is to catch whatever edible sea creature unlucky enough to be within reach of hand or pointed stick. What we had gathered that time where a few squid, crabs, dapa or palad (flatfish) and some fish. All these were boiled together in a pot with just salt. The resulting stew came out tinted in gray from the squid ink. The taste was amazing. The freshness of the “victims” of the foray were really evident in the sweetness of the broth. It was an ephemeral food experience. It was enjoying not just the food but communing with the moment. Namit Gid!

    Jan 16, 2012 | 9:09 pm

  19. Lambchop says:

    This looks really good, MM. And it looks doable for the novices too. Will try this soon!

    Jan 17, 2012 | 8:53 pm

  20. Fran says:

    Just the picture alone tells all, Delicious!!

    Jan 18, 2012 | 12:07 am


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