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Cioppino - Fisherman's Stew

Cioppino (Fisherman's Stew)

  • Author: Whip & Wander
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 large portions 1x
  • Category: Main Courses, Soups & Stews
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Some dishes always feel just a little bit more special than others. Cioppino, or Fisherman's Stew if you prefer, is a dish that for whatever reason always makes me feel like it's a special occasion. Simple, yet indulgent ingredients like fresh, quality seafood in a beautiful broth will always be tops in my book.


  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage, ground
  • 2 tbsp garlic oil (may sub 2 tbsp olive oil + 4 minced garlic cloves)
  • 1 1/2 cup fennel, finely diced
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup dry white wine (I usually use a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Gris)
  • 1 (32oz) chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5oz) can diced roasted tomatoes
  • 2-3 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 8 oz firm white fish (cod, tilapia, halibut, haddock), diced into 1.5-inch cubes
  • 1 lb mussels, washed, debearded, and set to chill in an ice bath
  • 1 lb large prawns or shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • 3/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 a lemon


  1. In a large deep lidded saute pan over medium-high heat, brown ground sausage. Drain grease and set meat to the side in a separate bowl.
  2. In the same pan over medium heat, add garlic oil, fennel, and green onion. Saute until fragrant about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Turn heat up to medium-high. Add the tomato paste and cook another 3 minutes, stirring constantly. The paste should deepen in color significantly.
  4. Add the white wine and cook down by half. Scrape down the pan while this cooks down, so the delicious bits of fennel and onion do not burn.
  5. Add back the Italian sausage as well as the chicken stock, tomatoes, fish sauce, cracked pepper, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
  6. Taste the broth and adjust fish sauce, if needed. Fish sauce is naturally very salty, so a little goes a long way. I generally add in 1/2 tsp increments, stir, and then taste when adding more.
  7. Add white fish and simmer for about 2 minutes, then add prawns. If the prawns are already fully-cooked you can add your mussels in immediately as the prawns will just need to come back to temperature and you don't want to overcook them. If your prawns are raw, cook around 2 minutes before you add the mussels to the pan. They should be turning slightly pink by the time the mussels hit the pan.
  8. Cover your pan with the lid and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes undisturbed, or until all the mussels have opened and the flesh looks plump and fully cooked. Your prawns should be fully pink and cooked through by this time as well. The lid on my saute pan is glass, which makes this much easier. If your lid is not glass, monitor your pot closely. You want the mussels to cook evenly, making the lid handy, but you don't want the pan to simmer over the side.
  9. Discard bay leaf. Stir parsley and squeeze the half lemon into the stew, then serve immediately. I usually discard any mussels that did not open as it's possible that the mussel was dead before it hit the pan, and therefore not a safe option to eat. It's common to have one or two in a large bunch that do not open, even from the freshest seafood purveyors. I know some people say that these can still be fine, but I never like to take the chance.


Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.


  • Serving Size: 1 portion
  • Calories: 440
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 1407 mg
  • Fat: 17 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 42 g
  • Cholesterol: 59 mg

Keywords: seafood, cioppino, stew