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A soup pot and two bowls filled with a seafood and a side of garlic butter toast.

Cioppino (Fisherman’s Stew)

I have to say that this Cioppino (Fisherman’s Stew) is the best soup/stew I’ve ever had.
It has many of the usual suspects found in a Cioppino: onions, shallots, fennel, fennel seeds, garlic, red pepper flakes, s&p, tomato paste, white wine, diced tomatoes, bay leaf, wild shrimp, clams, squid… but what took this over the top (for my humble taste buds) was the homemade lobster stock I pulled from the freezer!
The last time I boiled lobster, I added the shells back to the pot with corn cobs, veggies and herbs and made a big pot of intensely flavourful stock. I wasn’t sure how I’d use it, but now I think the other portion still frozen, is destined to end up in another pot of Cioppino!
I also added fresh corn kernels and finished the soup with tarragon (still growing in the garden).
Feel free to switch up the seafood, I've used mussels instead of clams.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb thinly sliced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 large shallots chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups dry white wine
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice (28-ounce )
  • 6 cups fish stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 corn on the cob – kernels removed cob reserved (or 1 cup frozen corn)
  • pounds littlenecks clams scrubbed and soaked in cold water for 20 minutes
  • 1 pound uncooked large wild shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 - 1 pound cleaned squid bodies sliced into 1/2-inch rings, tentacles halved lengthwise if large
  • Fresh tarragon leaves for serving


  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the fennel, onion, shallots, celery, fennel seeds and salt, sauté until the onion is translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, sauté 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook for 1 minute. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juices, fish stock and bay leaf.
  • Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.
  • Add the corn and the clams to the pot. Cover and cook until the clams just begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and squid. Simmer gently until the shrimp & squid are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, about 5 minutes more (discard any clams that do not open).
    A tray of clams, shrimp and squid for Cioppino (Fisherman’s Stew)
  • Season the soup, to taste, with more salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with tarragon leaves and serve with fresh bread or toast.


  • What takes this dish from good-to-great is the quality, flavour & intensity of the fish stock. So next time you make lobster, shrimp, shellfish, keep the shells and take the time to reduce down the flavours of the shells, with veggies & herbs, then freeze it for the tastiest Cioppino ever!
  • Feel free to switch up the seafood, I used mussels instead of clams in this stew.
    A top down image of a pan with a Cioppino (Fisherman’s Stew). Toast, wine, lemons and crushed chilis surround this pan.
Keyword Cioppino
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