Cioppino – Quick and Amazing Fish Stew

This wonderfully spicy fish stew/soup and a few crostini made a fabulous ending to a hectic day. We’d spent our day doing home improvements, and by 6:30, when I was finally ready to make dinner, the mess and time involved in making the fish and chips we’d planned seemed a bit daunting. So, what else to do with the fish…

I wanted something quick, of course, and, as always, really tasty. At first I thought chowder, but something tomato-based sounded much more appealing. I surveyed the ingredients that I had on hand and decided on a spicy cioppino.

Ingredients:
1 pound of cod cut into 1″ chunks
Freshly ground black pepper
1 T. light olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 T. dried minced onion, soaked in warm water until reconstituted**
3-4 small sweet yellow peppers, diced
Dash of Cayenne pepper
1 c. vegetable broth
1 14.5 oz cans of stewed Italian tomatoes
Sea Salt
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried basil
4-5 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Directions:
Sprinkle the fish cubes with pepper and allow to stand while you continue to prepare the rest of the dish.

In a large, deep skillet or chef’s pot heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes, just until they begin to brown. Add the yellow peppers and the cayenne pepper and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes until the peppers begin to soften. De-glaze the pan with the vegetable broth and bring it to a boil.

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Once the broth is boiling, add the tomatoes, salt, oregano and basil. Return the mixture to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes, then add the fish cubes. Cook the fish until it has become opaque and flaky – this will take another 5-6 minutes – then add the fresh basil and stir to blend. Serve promptly with crostini or crusty fresh bread.

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