Sunday, July 10, 2011


As I prepared this classic seafood stew, I remembered the first time that I ever had it.  It was at one of my favorite restaurants in Northwest Arkansas:  Theo's in Fayetteville's popular and entertaining Dickson Street.  Fayetteville is a town where I have a lot of memories.  As I look back at the six years that I spent in pharmaceutical sales, travelling the state of Arkansas to see Cardiologists and Endocrinologists, I feel fortunate to have had the chance to eat some really good food across the state on those expense accounts!

Ever since I had that dish back in 2008, I have been reading recipes online and in cookbooks to see how it's done.  At one point, I wasn't sure what separated a bouillabaisse from a cioppino.  Sort of like what separates a gumbo from an etouffee.  But I picked everything that I liked from some of the recipes that I found, and this is how I did it...

  • Olive oil
  • 4 Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 White onion, diced or sliced
  • 1 Red bell pepper diced or sliced
  • 2/3 cup of celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 oz. bottle of clam juice
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • Kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1 Pound of shrimp, thawed, peeled, & deveined
  • 1 Pound of mussels
  • 1 Package of Private Selection Organic Calamari (already cleaned)
  • 1 Pound of cod (halibut would be great too) cut into small portions
  • 1 crusty demi baguette
  1. Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat, and add just enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom.  Once the oil is hot (about 5 minutes on my stove) add shallots, onion, bell pepper, and celery.  Season lightly with salt.
  2. After about 10 minutes, when the vegetables have cooked down, add the mussels with the white wine and cover with a heavy lid for about 8 minutes.  Remove the lid, and remove the mussels, discarding any broken or unopened pieces.
  3. Next, add 2 cups of water, clam juice, lemon juice, and bring up to a boil.  Add the fish and let it gently simmer for about 5 minutes. 
  4. Then add the shrimp and calamari.  As soon as the shrimp turns orange, turn off the heat.
  5. Heat the baguette in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Don't forget to add the mussels back in at the end!

Top with lemon zest and parsley.

(I like my onions and bells thinly sliced.)  My husband prefers them finely diced.

With all the prep work involved, I actually started a day ahead by chopping, slicing, and mincing the vegetables.  I also peeled the shrimp, cut up the fish, and cut the calamari tubes in half.

If this cioppino could speak, it would ask for Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc.  Or Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc. 
In this dish, I used these yummy tomatoes which I grew on my back deck garden.

                    I took a picture of my basil and bell pepper while I was out there.

Dinner and a movie idea:  Love and Other Drugs was suuuuuch a good movie....a GREAT portrayal of the pharmaceutical industry!

1 comment:

  1. Thanh, I looked all over your blog for an email - could you send me a note? I wanted to invite you to join a few other Arkansas food bloggers at an invite-only event in a few weeks.

    As an FYI, I run a nonprofit in northwest Arkansas and blog at and, and I work with the ladies at Arkansas Women Bloggers. You can reach me at bethanystephens (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks - love the blog!! :)