Lenten Recipe: Cioppino

A delicious fish stew to try this Lenten season or anytime.

This article is written by Contributing Editor Tony Traficante.

Cioppino – A Lenten Recipe

Call it soup. Call it stew. If you are French, you call it Bouillabaisse. But we Italians call it Zuppa di Pesce or ‘Cioppino.’

Call it whatever you want…it is “delicious” — and healthy. It’s a fisherman’s delight!

The thing about this recipe is you can add, substitute or delete whatever fish item you please. It is best to use a firm fish such as halibut, cod, any other white fish, along with shrimp, scallops, clams, or mussels. And, if the budget allows, you may add lobster chunks or crab.

Serve the Cioppino however you prefer: as a soup (feel free to dip in fresh Italian crusted bread), spread it on a bed of rice or over leftover hard, garlic-rubbed Italian bread.

Cioppino makes a great meal not only for Lent but year-round.

Monica Traficante offers a basic recipe for her fish soup. She regularly skips the shellfish; however, the recipe, below, includes them…


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 3 large shallots, or one large onion, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, or black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 4-5 cups of water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 doz. clams, or mussels, scrubbed
  • 1 lb. uncooked jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 1/2 lbs assorted firm-fleshed fish, halibut, cod, scallops, or whatever is available; cut into 2-inch chunks


  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, carrot, shallots, or onions, and salt; sauté until a golden brown, about 10 minutes. Next, add the garlic and pepper and sauté 2 minutes.
  • Next, add the fish, except shrimp and scallops, sauté about 3 minutes; add tomatoes with their juices, wine, water, lemon juice, and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Then add the shrimp, and or scallops, and simmer for another 5, or so, minutes.
  • (If not using clams or mussels, skip this step). Add the clams and mussels. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes (discard any that do not open).
  • Add more seasoning, as desired. Takes about 1 hr. Makes about 6-8 servings.

“Mangia bene, ridi spesso, ama molto”

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