The Feast of the Seven Peaks: Central Oregon Cioppino
Winter holidays are all about tradition — the ones that we loved as children now warm our adult souls, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Here in Bend, we know that creating new traditions can be freeing, fun, and deeply satisfying, too. Nothing strengthens our bonds with friends and family more than great food and drink, especially in winter.
The dish that symbolizes this best? Cioppino. Gathering around a steaming pot of this mélange of seafood, simmering in a rich broth of garlic, herbs, and tomato, is the centerpiece of Christmas Eve dinner rituals. The dish was created during the Gold Rush days, by Italian immigrants in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, many from the port city of Genoa.
We think that the unofficial history of the dish suits the holiday perfectly: when a fisherman returned to shore without a catch, he would carry a pot as he’d stroll the docks, past his more fortunate compatriots. They knew the code: those who’d had success would share what they had, which would become the ingredients of the cioppino.
Here’s a way that we’ve found we can riff on an old European tradition to make this dish our very own. Cioppino can sometimes be a part of the Italian-American Christmas Eve “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” Here in Central Oregon we are surrounded by seven peaks, so we have a fish in our pot for each of them. Ta da, we introduce a new Christmas Eve tradition: The Feast of the Seven Peaks: Central Oregon Cioppino.
Get Help from Our Seafood Experts at Newport Avenue Market — Make It Easy!
This dish is nothing short of an homage to the bounty of the salty waters of the Pacific, and cioppino (pronounced cho-pee-no) has been fully embraced by our market’s seafood experts, who source the freshest, most sustainable and delicious kinds of fish just right for this dish. You have only to look to our experts for help in choosing the best ingredients, a combination of Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, mussels, and white fish like halibut and snapper. Not only that, we have pro tips to make it easy, so you’ll still have time to hit the slopes, the trails, and indulge in all the winter holiday fun, too.
The beauty of this dish is that it allows for a good amount of improvisation, which is perfect, because that allows you to choose the best offerings from our ice-laden seafood cases.
TAKE NOTE: This year, Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, so be sure to pre-order and visit us on Friday, Saturday or Sunday morning to gather up the freshest seafood arrivals.
This season, we have found that wild-caught swordfish has been simply amazing, and we offer you the freshest that we can put our choosy little mitts on. It is a top recommendation for cioppino, along with fresh, wild ling cod and rock fish.
Our Cioppino Recipe
Make 8-10 servings
Two 26 oz jars of Paladini All Natural Cioppino sauce (available in the Meat Department)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 lb of scrubbed and rinsed clams or mussels (or both)
1 lb boneless fish fillets cut into 2-inch pieces (white fish fillets such as Chilean sea bass, halibut, ling cod, rock fish, sturgeon or swordfish)
1/2 lb bay scallops
1/2 lb peeled and deveined medium size shrimp (raw)
2 large whole cooked Dungeness crab, cracked and sectioned
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 to 1 cup red wine (we prefer red; most recipes call for white)
1 cup seafood stock (clam juice or even chicken stock works well)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 Tbsp olive oil
One sauté pan and one stock pot
To cook fish and shrimp:
• In the sauté pan, on medium heat, add olive oil and chopped garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
• Add the bite-size pieces of fish, scallops, and shrimp and cook for 5-8 minutes; add lemon juice and stir.
In the stock pot:
• Combine wine and seafood stock and bring to a simmer.
• Add clams/mussels and cover with lid and cook for 5 minutes.
• Add crab, cooked seafood from sauté pan and Cioppino sauce.
• Simmer together for an additional 5 minutes.
• Serve in individual bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.
Serve with Bread, Wine and …
Cioppino, essentially a version of French bouillabaisse with fresh tomatoes, is perfect served with crusty, toasted bread. Our locally baked sourdoughs, or French breads from Sparrow Bakery or The Village Baker’s Italian “striata,” with Newport’s Own Small Batch Butter, are perfect for dipping into this flavorful sauce. Next, head over to our thoroughly un-snobby “wine wench” or our other down-to-terroir wine experts for the perfect pairing, with a bright, citrusy white such as Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, or Riesling.
End the evening on a sweet note, and don’t hold back. Think cookies, cakes, gourmet hot chocolate, petit fours, and macarons. Go off to bed with visions of sugarplums dancing in your head, along with all of the winter adventures that await amid our seven peaks.