Cioppino Failure

Joined Dec 27, 2017
The problem I seem to have when cooking cioppino is that by adding several pounds of chilled seafood to the simmering broth, the temperature of the broth cools so much that it takes too long for the seafood to cook and it turns to mush. I have tried using a firm fish, like swordfish, but in order to get the scallops cooked, the fish is overdone. I've tried adding the seafood at different times but none of it should be cooked very long.

Any suggestions? Merci et bon apetite!


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
It's definitely an inexact science. IMO none of the seafood needs to be done DONE. ;) Scallops, definitely not, Swordfish, might need to be done all the way through.

BUT, I would control the cooking by removing the items before they are fully cooked, so in a sense, par cooking them in the liquid. Remove, par cook the next batch of items and set them all in a bowl in a warm spot.

Add the shellfish last, then dump everything else in and simmer for a minute or three.
Joined Feb 17, 2010
I worked at a place years ago that did cioppino as a special on Wednesday nights. We made 60 gallons of the base, this had a good fish stock in it and the salt component came from clam base.
We steamed the clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, fish and a Dungeness crab half seperately, then ladled the hot sauce over the seafood in the bowl.
Joined Sep 26, 2017
Even award-winning restaurants charging $40 for it screw this dish up quite often. What kuan said works best I think.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
I make my broth and poach my fish separately. I steam my shell fish in the broth. If I were to use Scallops I would also do them separately. I look at this dish as more assembling at the end and not cooking everything together. It's to hard to judge the times otherwise. I use Salmon as my fish......

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