Cioppino

Cioppino

1 quart clams (in the shell)
1 cup dry white or red wine
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup dried mushrooms, soaked in water and drained, while retaining then straining (through cheesecloth or a coffee filter) the soaking liquid
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 tbsp Italian tomato paste
2 cups red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Zinfandel
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
3 pounds thick fish fillets, cut into serving pieces (sea bass and striped bass are recommended, but almost any firm-fleshed fish will do)
1 pound crabmeat
1 pound raw shrimp, shelled
3 tbsp chopped parsley

Steam the clams in the 1 cup of white or red wine until they open, discarding any that don?t open. Strain the broth through two thicknesses of cheesecloth (or a coffee filter) and reserve.

Heat the oil in a deep 8-quart pot and cook the onion and garlic until the onion has become translucent. Add the pepper and mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook 4 minutes. Add the strained clam broth, the strained mushroom broth, tomato paste, and 2 cups red wine. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning. Add the basil and the fish, and just cook the fish through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Finally, add the steamed clams, crabmeat, and shrimp. Heat just until shrimp are cooked. Do not overcook. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with crusty bread (preferably sourdough), a salad, and lots of red wine.