Cioppino

1 large live crab
1 dozen mussels
1 dozen prawns
1 large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C dry Italian white wine
12 fresh Italian tomatoes, chopped
1 small can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t marjoram
1 t Italian parsley
1 t Tabasco sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Boil the crab for 20 minutes, then let it cool in the water in which it was cooked. When cool, clean it, remove and shred the body meat, and crack the legs. Cook the prawns in salted water for 15 minutes. Wash the mussles and clams.

In a tall pot, lay first the mussles and clams, then the prawns in their shells, then the cracked crab legs. Over all this spread the shredded crab meat.

In another pan, make the sauce. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil, slowly for 20 minutes. Add the wine and cook 10 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, herbs and seasonings, and cook slowly for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Pour the sauce over the previously arranged shell fish, making sure that the sauce runs to the bottom. Cover and cook slowly until the mixture begins to bubble, then continue simmering for 30 minutes.

Serve in soup bowls, with crusty Italian bread and a green salad. Supply fish forks, bibs, lots of paper napkins, and a large communal bowl for shells. Mop up the sauce with the bread. Serves 4.

A San Francisco favorite, of Italian origin.
Adapted from Herbs for the Kitchen by Irma Mazza.

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