cait +tiff

C / traditions / christmas eve cioppino

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My family moved to California when I was 5. We landed in Palo Alto and seafood quickly became one of my favorite things. As a small child, I could eat abnormally large quantity of shellfish and somewhere around 8 years a waiter challenged me with a plate of 70 mussels. I accepted that challenge, finished the plate, and he was totally grossed out.

Cioppino on Christmas Eve became a tradition after we settled in there. It’s an Italian-American tradition, born in San Francisco, and very popular in the North Beach area of the city. It generally consists of the catch of the day, everything from dungeness crab to scallops and clams, cooked in a tomato-based broth with wine. It’s served with sourdough bread, toasted with garlic butter. Is delicious.

My mom is an exceptionally talented cook, and loves trying new recipes. She is constantly pulling the most difficult stuff from the The New York times, putting it on the table to ooohs and aaahs, and simply saying, “This? It’s so easy.” She made cioppono the first year we were in California and it was a hit, so it stuck.

It’s different every year, depending on what is available, and since we are in Tucson, the fresh stuff is limited. Crab, mahi mahi, scallops and mussels are in the mix this year and this girl is very excited.

It’s cold in Tucson, basically freezing for my thin, Cambodia-resident blood, and I can’t wait to get into this tonight.

Photo by Cook, Create and unComplicate





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