It is time that many of you might be thinking about doing a romantic meal for Valentines.
If you can avoid the restaurants, you will avoid alot of busy-ness and chaos.
I was in the restaurant business and this IS the busiest night of the
One thing that makes a nice enchanting meal is the spices that are used and also the presentation and "fun-ness" of it.
One idea is to make believe you are on the beach eating in a restaurant overlooking thebay in San Francisco and watch the fisherman come in.
They use to make a communal pot of some kind of fisherman's stew and everyone pitched in something from the day's catch. Rustic and good with wine and french bread and good conversation.
The first time I was served Cioppino the waiter came out with a rugged aluminum pot with handle and just set it down on the white tablecloth. I wondered if the chef was too lazy to put it in a bowl for me. Then I wondered If he was too lazy to crack the crab for me to ........I mean really it is in tomato sauce …not broth!
All that was served with it was bread and wine.
But it was FUN!
I found a great you tube about Cioppino from a famous recipe in the Montery area
by Phil Girolamo who owns Phil's Fish Market. I loved the way that he enchants this recipe with spices like cinnamon and saffron. For a real spicy experience try getting a
great quality cinnamon stick and grind it yourself in a clean coffee grinder.
So I just watched and listened to Phil on this youtube and adapted a recipe for you to do this. You of course don't have to add the saffron , but if you haven't cooked with it it is really fun to see how beautiful color it makes and a distinct earthy aroma and flavor.
Here is the Video then the recipe
Phil's Fish Market Cioppino
Owner, Phil DiGirolamo takes you inside his fish market and shows how he makes his famous cioppino.
Phil describes that his mother made a separate sauce for the Cioppino
that could be made ahead.
The the seafood was selected depending on what was available.
The sauce was poured over the seafood and cooked.
The Base 11/4 cup good olive oil
2Qt. Sliced white onion
1 head of garlic, about 15 garlic cloves
Fresh Basil (about a cup of chopped leaves)
Italian flat leaf parsley ( 1 cup chopped )
1 Tblespoon worchestishire
2- 14 oz can Tomato Puree
2-14 oz. can of Whole Italian style Tomatoes
2 Tablsp brown sugar
Salt and pepper
Seafood Dungeness Crab , preferably but can use king crab, snow or blue crab
Lobster , Shrimp in the shell, White fish like cod or halibut, or snapper.
Mussels, Clams , scallos
optional, can of chopped clams and clam juice
Seafood broth 1 cup White wine,
2 tblesp. worchestishire
1.Heat olive oil in large Dutch Oven or your favorite large soup pot.
2. Add the onions and garlic and cook until they are soft.
Add the basil and parsley and cook 1 more minute. Add the
3. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, cinnamon and bay leaf.
Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes on low to let the flavors develop
and don't let it darken or the overcooked tomato taste will be awful.
If your not going to use the sauce today then cool it quickly and
put into a container to store.
( The faster you cool the sauce down
The longer it will keep in the fridge and you will avoid harmful
bacteria to form. )
4. The Seafood Start with olive oil and heat up and add the
clams and mussels,
Add the saffron, worchestishire and
Simmer to make sure that the clams and mussels
open. Remove those that look to be dead.
Add the clam juice and the white fish that you cut into large 2 oz. chunks.
You don't want them to fall apart into mush.
Add the prawns, scallops, crab and Squid.
Phil adds now a can of chopped clams and clam juice because
it gives it a sweetness.
Now add half to 3/4 of the Cioppino sauce and simmer.
for 10 minutes to blend flavors.
Optional enchanting seasonigs.
Red pepper flakes, tobasco, pasilla or jalapeno chilies.
Vanilla Vinaigrette Salad.
with gorganzola and nectarine slices
for 2 large or 4 small salads
8 oz of arugula
1/4 cup vanilla vinaigrette
1/4 cup gorganzola
1 nectarine sliced
We used this recipe in a contest that went over well, it really
enchants the well deserved standard of olive oil and vinegar
Juice from 1 tangerine or orange
1/8 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey dijon mustard , or regular dijon if you wish
1 tblsp chopped red onion
Toss the arugula in a large bowl with the vanilla vinaigrette.
Plate the salad, arrange the nectarine slices over the salad
and top with the gorganzola