Lobster Cioppino is another of those recipes that are made in more that one part, and then the parts are added together and cooked a bit more to finish off the dish just before serving. Cioppino consists of a light herbal tomato sauce, a nice fish fumet, a couple handfuls of the seafood catchs of the day, and a fair bit of lobster. Add all together in a pot, preferably cast iron, and bring the whole thing gently up to a simmer for a couple minutes, drop in a last bit of abulone or squid, and maybe a last dash of Tabasco, then put in big, flat bowls and serve with a loaf of good bread, a clean, sharp salad, and a big bottle of red wine. Lobster Cioppino is one of those dishes that you can spend a lot of very pleasant time eating.
TO DO LOBSTER CIOPPINO:
First we do the light tomato sauce base. This quantity is about right for 4 or 5 hungry people. To begin, heat a good sized skillet, and add:
When butter sizzles, add:
fair bit basil, bit of oregano, wad of parsely, all preferably fresh, nice bay leaf, 1/4 tsp fennel seed, a clove, a grind black pepper, a tsp or more of ground red chile.
Saute this around for just a bit till you can smell the spices. Then add:
A good splash white wine, a good dash of Tabasco, and a good shot of both red wine vinegar and Worstershire Sauce.
Toss this around for a small bit, and add:
Five 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce.
Simmer this all up for an hour or two, and reserve. This will keep on the stove for a day or two, and refrigerates well. It will freeze for future reference for up to a couple months.
FISH STOCK, OR FUMET
The second part of the Cioppino is the stock, or fish flavored soup base. To do this, wash a couple pounds of fish bones, a couple fish heads, and the lobster shells. Put them into a stock or stew pot, add a couple quarts of water, a big piece of onion, stalk of celery, a carrot or two chopped up, maybe a grind of black pepper or even a turnip. Keep this part pretty simple though. Simmer the stock gently a couple hours, strain, cool well and reserve.
For a nice serving of Lobster Cioppino you should have a couple good pieces of lobster, and a good selection of other seafood types. The only good seafood is absolutely fresh seafood, so let what is available best be your guide. With the lobster you do want a mix of a bit of fish, a few shellfish, maybe a shrimp or two, and maybe a bit of squid, octopus or abulone thrown in a the last moment. For each serving, a typical seafood mix might include in addition to the lobster any three or four of the below:
TO DO THE CIOPPINO:
In a large pan, for each serving add:
Pull the corks out of a couple more bottles of wine, get the bread out of the oven, serve the Lobster Cioppino and ENJOY.
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