Cioppino, Italian for Awesome


This is not a new dish; I’m not a pioneer today.  If you Google “Cioppino”, you will come up with 443,000 results (I tried it just for kicks).  You may even find a version that you like better than mine.  So, if nothing else, what I want you to take away from this post is the awesomely easy weeknight meal that this dish makes if you follow my meal prep plan.  Following this plan, you prep the base on Sunday (or whichever day you have to grocery shop and cook), then store in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to serve.  Doing this puts your time in the kitchen at under 30 minutes on a busy weeknight.

Let’s get started.

Cioppino (Spicy Seafood Stew)


  • ­ 1 Fennel, Fronds Removed, Bulb Cut in Half then Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion, Diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Grated
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, or Coconut Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Oregano, Finely Chopped
  • ¼ (or less) Teaspoon Cayenne
  • Sprinkle of Red Pepper Flakes, Optional
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • ½ Cup Madeira Wine
  • 28 Ounces Fish Stock, My favorite right now is Stock Options
  • 28 Ounces Diced Tomatoes, Try Delallo Italian Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Pounds of Assorted Fish
  • Zucchini Noodle or Pasta (Your Choice, Zucchini Noodles are pictured)

TIP: The recipe as it is picture has 1 lbs. cod, .5 lbs. scallops & .5 lbs. uncooked peeled shrimp.  I LOVE using muscles, but due to schedule and timing I chose to skip them this time.

Meal Prep Instructions – Do this on Sunday, or on your meal prep day, to make your weeknight cooking short and sweet.

If you a prepping the base ahead of time, leave your fish in the fridge, you don’t need it until the day you want to serve the dish.

In a medium pot, heat the fish stock until it is simmering lightly.  My stock is usually frozen when I start this recipe.  I put it in the pot and allow it to melt on a low heat, then turn it up a bit once the ice has melted to bring it to a simmer.

In a large pot, I use my Dutch oven, heat the butter and oil over medium heat.  Add the fennel and onions and sauté until they are translucent, 8-10 minutes.  Then toss in garlic, oregano, cayenne, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Stir and combine (about 1 minute) to allow the spices to warm and integrate into the fennel and onion.  Pour Madeira wine into the pot and deglaze the pan, then add the simmering fish stock and tomatoes. 

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. 

For Meal Prep Plan, transfer soup into a large container and store in the fridge until you are ready to serve.  Will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days; you can also store it in freezer safe containers for longer storage.

Day of Service Instructions

If you have already made the soup, pour the soup back into your large pot and reheat, bringing it to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and add your seafood.  Most seafood will cook in 5 minutes.

Turn off stove, and serve.

HINT: This dish is traditionally served over pasta.  I really like to serve it over Zucchini noodles.  You can use a spiralizer, or even a handheld peeler with teeth (this is what I currently have).  Both have great benefits.  The Zucchini can be sautéed in a bit of butter and oil, or served raw using the Cioppino to lightly “cook” or heat the noodles.