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Candelaria Cioppino - Perfect for the Big Game

One of my favs, especially for serving the big game, is cioppino – fish stew! Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day – or in my case the freshest fish I can find at AJ’s! Cioppino was developed in the late 1800’s by Italian immigrants who settled in the San Francisco. It was originally made on the boats while the fisherman were out at sea and later became a staple in many restaurants in San Francisco.

It is definitely one of my favorites and when served with some grilled bread to soak up the juices of the broth – it is heaven. Plus if you make a big enough pot it can just simmer all day while you enjoy the games. It can feed a big crew and the longer it simmers the better it gets.

So enjoy, I love the red color – perfect dish to serve for that big Cardinal game!

You definitely want to get the freshest fish you can find. I pick up 8-12 clams, 8-12 mussles, 8-12 shrimp peeled and deveined, a pint container of fresh squid – tubes and tentacles, one good size fresh fish filet – halibut is my favorite but salmon is also good, you want a fish that is meaty and firm.  I pick up the rest of the items – if you cannot find fish broth I pick up a bottle of clam juice.

I always start by getting all my ingredients prepped and ready. Clean the seafood and chop up the veggies. Find a nice big pot – I love my cast iron cookware. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, shallots and fennel, salt all of it and saute until the onion is soft and translucent, roughly 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes or I have some amazing little pepper packets with all kinds of seasonings I bring back from Italy each trip. Continue to saute for another 2 or 3 minutes.

Now stir in the tomato paste, Add the tomatoes with their juices, the wine, the fish stock or chicken stock with clam juice and a couple bay leafs. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer and just let all the ingredients cook and blend – give it 30 minutes or so.

Now add the clams and mussels and cook until they start to open. Then add the shrimp, squid and fish chunks. You can also add crab claws to this recipe. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are cooked through the clams are completely open, and the shrimp have that nice pink color. It won’t take long – 5-10 minutes. You can season the soup with salt and more red pepper to your taste and liking.

Grill some French bread on your panini press by slicing the bred about ½” to ¾” thick and brush with some extra virgin olive oil. Get the grill marks on the bread and add three slices to the served soup. Garnish with Italian parsley and fresh lemon wedges.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think?!




3 – 4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large fennel bulb – slice thinly

1 sweet onion chopped

3-4 large shallots chopped

4 large finely chopped garlic cloves

2 teaspoons salt – pepper to your liking

3 to 4 teaspoons of dried crushed red pepper flakes or Pepperoncino Italian spices – you need to come to Italy with me to get these!

¼ cup of tomato paste

1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes in their juice

1-1/2 cups of pinot grigio white wine

5-1/2 cups of Fish Stock – or 5 cups of Chicken Broth with one bottle of clam juice.

2 – 3 bay leafs

8-12 clams, scrubbed

8-12 mussels, debearded and scrubbed

1 pint of squid/calamari

8-12 uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1-1/2 pounds of firm and fresh fish fillets such as halibut or salmon cut into 1-1/2 to 2 inch chunks.

Fresh French baguette

Italian parsley and lemons.