California Dreamin’

I’m a California girl and fiercely proud of it, especially since I’ve moved to the Northwest, where any mention of the Golden State is a dirty word.  There are few things more Californian than San Francisco-style Cioppino, that staple of the restaurants around Fisherman’s Wharf.  My hometown had a ‘Cioppino Feed’ every year to support the Rotary Club, and after doing a quick google search, I see that it was not alone!  Indeed, the earliest  recipe I found for cioppino in the U.S. is from a book called Conservation Recipes, compiled by the Mobilized Women’s Organizations of Berkeley in 1918.  Ultimately, the dish is derived from any number of tomato-based fish soups from Italy (with nods to Southern France and Spain, of course).

Today’s cioppino recipe is from the California Heritage Cookbook, published in 1977 by the Pasadena Junior League.  I know this dates me, but I remember my mother using the cookbook as I was growing up.  I was so happy to find such a familiar book on the shelves of a local thrift shop.

As it happens, the recipe was a wonderful combination of rich broth and tender seafood–crusty bread is the perfect accompaniment!  I was lazy and bought some pre-shelled crab and cut back on the olive oil and butter a bit, but otherwise I followed this recipe very closely and was impressed by the results.


  1. Reply
    Crepes of Wrath April 26, 2010

    I feel like I can taste this already!

    • Reply
      alison April 29, 2010

      @Crepes: It was an amazing flavorful dish. It also reheated as leftovers surprisingly well!

      @Karen: Well, don’t tell anyone, but you could totally use canned crab and nobody would know the difference!

  2. Reply
    Karen April 28, 2010

    Oh, my, this looks absolutely delicious! I wish I could get some fresh seafood, but that’s not likely to happen in Montana!

  3. Reply
    Jasmine April 28, 2010

    oh, i do love the mis en place shots….

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