Sunday, July 24, 2011

Seafood Cioppino with Garden Zucchini Gratin

I started this blog one year ago as a hobby and creative outlet. The first post was a family style dinner and I thought it would be fitting to end the year with an amazing family style post as well. Seafood Cioppino was actually created in SanFran but its origins are in the bouillabaisse dishes of southern Europe. Its key ingredients are shellfish, onions, tomatoes and white wine. Everything else is just to enhance these base flavors and are optional. This costs about $70 and feeds 6. Total time is about 1 hour.

Seafood Cioppino
2 lbs black mussels
2 lbs little neck clams
1 lb bay scallops
1 whole red snapper, filet and cut into 3oz pieces
1 red pepper, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped, frawns reserved
1 vidallia onion, chopped
2 whole leeks, cleaned and chopped
4 green onions, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, rough chopped
1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 bottle dry white wine, sauvingnon blanc/pinot grigio
1 bunch fresh thyme, left whole
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

Start a large stock pot on medium and add olive oil to coat the bottom. Add all the vegetables except the tomatoes and let cook 15 minutes or until the begin to soften. Add the tomatoes and let cook 10 more minutes. Add white wine, shellfish, thyme, crushed red pepper and fennel frawns and cover. Cook 10 to 12 minutes stirring occasionally until all of the clams and mussels have opened up. Season with sea salt and pepper. Serve with a ladle.

In a separate sautee pan cook the snapper on medium high for 3 minutes on each side. Top cioppino with some fennel frawns, thyme and snapper filet.

Garden Fresh Zucchini Gratin
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping
1.5 pound vidallia onions, cut in 1/2 and sliced (3 large)
3 pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick (4 zucchini)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1.5 cup hot milk
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Gruyere
1/4 cup grated aged white cheddar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a very large (12-inch) saute pan and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour the mixture into two 8 by 10-inch baking dishes. Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyere and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

I also made some simple olive oil bread by slicing a fresh Italian loaf in half and brushing it with olive oil and cooking in the oven for 10 minutes. This was a great meal made much better by having the company of my favorite people in the world, my family. Buon Apetitio!!

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