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Cioppino made easy!

smseafoodmarketUncategorized 12 Comments

You requested, we listened!

We have had numerous requests for assistance in the Cioppino department. One of my favorite things to do is help educate people on the simplicity of cooking seafood. For this entry, we are going to break down the steps to making an easy and flawless Cioppino! This is one of those dishes you CAN’T mess up! You can add any item you want, change the spice intensity, make the sauce thick or thin, and so on.  There is no right or wrong way to do it. Just have fun and cater it to your tastebuds!

In order to make this dish, let’s first learn about the history. Wikipedia….to the rescuuuuue! “Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day, which in San Francisco is typically a combination of Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, and fish… The seafood is then combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce, and served with toasted bread, either local sourdough or French bread. Cioppino was developed in the late 1800s primarily by Italian fishermen who settled in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, many from the port city of Genoa. Originally it was made on the boats while out at sea and later became a staple as Italian restaurants proliferated in San Francisco.”

So how do you begin to make it? Here is what our pros at Santa Monica Seafood suggest:

Serving 1 (double the batch if you are making the order for two)


2 Tbs. of good olive oil

2 Tbs. of fresh julienned shallots

1 Tbs. of fresh julienned garlic

1 tsp. chili pepper flakes for spice

1 tsp. salt

3 ounces mixed shellfish (we suggest 4 clams, 4 mussels, 4 medium shrimp, and a pinch of lump crab at the end)

2 ounces of Santa Monica Seafood fish stock

3 ounces of white wine (dry such as a Chablis, Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay)

4 ounces of Santa Monica Seafood Cioppino base

4 ounces mixed white fish (we suggest a firm fish such as halibut, monkfish, swordfish, corvina sea bass, baquetta sea bass, calamari)

1 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley

1 Tbs. fresh chopped basil

Two slices of ciabatta or sourdough


Give your clams and mussels a quick rinse under cold water. Set aside to drain.

1. Heat a pot with olive oil. Add sliced fresh garlic, shallots, shellfish, salt and chili flakes. Sautee for about 3-4 minutes. Stir often. Be careful not to burn the shallots and garlic.

2. Add white wine to the pot and allow this to reduce for a few minutes.

3. Add SMS fish stock. Cook for about 3-4 minutes.

4. Add SMS Cioppino base, fish, shrimp and calamari and cook until seafood is done.

5. Garnish with chopped parsley and basil. Serve with grilled ciabbata or sourdough bread. Enjoy!

I am here to help! Please feel free to leave questions and comments below. I would love to provide feedback and assist you along the way.

Happy cooking. We look forward to seeing pictures of your Cioppinos. Post your pics to Instagram and tag us @SantaMonicaSeafood.

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  1. About 40 years ago my husband and I and another couple were in San Francisco and had dinner at Alioto’s on Fisherman’s Wharf where we discovered cioppino. A couple of years later I saw a magazine ad for Hunt’s tomato sauce that included a recipe for cioppino. I had to make it! I searched out seafood stores and found Santa Monica Seafood Co., then on Colorado in Santa Monica. Over the years the wonderful people at Santa Monica Seafood taught me how to buy and prepare fish. I made cioppino now and then over the next 20 years. We eventually retired and moved to a retirement community in Banning where good seafood was hard to find locally at that time.

    I decided to make cioppino last New Year’s Eve while our son and daughter-in-law were visiting from Washington State. We opted to make an adventure of it and drove to the Costa Mesa store, an hour and a half each way, and shopped for clams, muscles, lobster tails, shrimp, crab legs, scallops. I hauled out the old recipe and we had a feast. Soooo good. It was worth the drive. We will be stopping by again on our way home from Laguna this coming Friday for scallops and ??

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      Peggy, thank you for your loyal support! This truly made my day. I passed your kind words onto our owners, the Costa Mesa store and the rest of the marketing team. Your positivity has brightened everyones day! As a thank you, we would like to extend our “family” 20% off discount to you when you arrive. What time are you expecting to stop in on Friday? I will be there between 10am-3pm. I would love to meet you!

  2. Hi,
    What is “Santa Monica Seafood Cioppino base” Does anybody have the recipe for that?
    I would like to make the Santa Monica Seafood Cioppino at home but I don’t have or know the base listed above

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      We offer the “base” in two forms at our market.

      *A container from the produce section; which you will then need to add clam juice, garlic, basil, and shallots.


      *A jar from the sauce section; longer shelf life and has everything you need.

      Both are phenomenal!

      Thank you!

  3. I absolutely LOVE cioppino! I think I’m gping to make it for Valentine’s Day <3
    Do you have a link on the website as to what's in season right now?
    Thanks forhaving the most amazing selection of seafood. By the way,, the smoked mussels ROCK! Recipe please!

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      Thank you, Erin!
      Our website does not have a “what’s in season now” tab. However, that is a great idea!
      I am so happy to hear you enjoy the smoked mussels. They are one of my favorites as well. 🙂

  4. I’ve been to your Costa Mesa market several times, but I just discovered your website. (Don’t know what took me so long.)

    Thank you for this recipe. I noticed that it’s only 1 serving, which is perfect for me, but not for family/friend gatherings. Any recommendations on how to make it to entertain a group of 10-15 (or more) people?

    Thank you!

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      I would recommend buying the jar of “Cioppino Sauce” from the retail store and x’ing the recipe by however many people you want to entertain. Use a big sauce pan and increase your time. (For the shellfish, just wait for them to open to determine the length of cooking)

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