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An Italian-American Soup of Many Fish

CioppinoCioppino is a rich tomato and vegetable soup filled with fish and shellfish. Italian in nature, it actually originated as a specialty dish at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, where it was first introduced in the 1930's. This soup works well for weight loss surgery patients and families alike because it is chock-full of nutritious ingredients and lean protein. A single serving provides 75mg Vitamin C, is rich in B Vitamins and phytonutrients in addition to 42 grams of protein. I used halibut, crabmeat, shrimp and mussels for this recipe. Clams are often used in Cioppino as well as haddock or sea bass. Select the freshest fish available on the day you plan to prepare the soup and store fish and shellfish on ice, in the refrigerator until cooking.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium red bell peppers, stemmed, seed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 large shallots, minced
2 (14-ounce) cans tomatoes
6 ounces tomato paste
1 cup water
2 cups Chianti (or dry red wine)
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 pounds halibut, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 pound lump crabmeat
1 1/2 dozen mussels, cleaned
1 pound shrimp, shells on, rinsed
salt and pepper

Tender VeggiesIn a large (12-quart) stockpot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the red bell peppers, onion, and shallots to the hot oil and cook and stir until the vegetables are soft, 6 to 8-minutes. Stir in the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, water, and Chianti and bring to a low simmer. Cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the basil, oregano, and thyme. The soup should be a thick consistency as the liquid reduces.

Into the simmering soup layer in the halibut, crabmeat, mussels, and shrimp, and cook, partially covered, until the mussels open and the halibut flakes when touched with a fork.

To serve, spoon the seafood into warmed bowls, and ladle the soup atop the fish. Provide extra bowls for the discarded mussel shells and shrimp shells. Be sure to cook the shrimp with the shells on: this keeps them tender. Don't use your best linens when serving this soup: it is messy but so delicious. Fresh crusty bread is a great for soaking up the broth.

Recipe serves 10. Per serving: 448 calories, 42g protein, 10g fat, 14g carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 142mg cholesterol, 593mg sodium and 1156mg potassium.

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