Cioppino is a stew that uses any number of mixed seafood, in their shells, cooked in a tomato based broth with red wine. It is messy and typically served with a bib in restaurants. Developed in the late 1800s to use up the catch hauled in by San Francisco fishermen, it has since grown to be a staple menu item for many seafood houses today. There is no hard and fast rule for what seafood goes into a cioppino recipe, but crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, lobster, squid, and just about whatever chopped fresh fish a cook has landed are good candidates for the stew. The recipe below is adapted from the 1960s classic cookbook, Lake Stream Sea Food Cookbook, and uses striped bass, local lobster, clams, and shrimp.

Cioppino Recipe

Cioppino Recipe


A classic fish and seafood stew recipe with tomatoes, red wine, and garlic.


  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped green peppers
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups solid pack tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups red wine
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 pounds filleted striped bass, cut into larger bite size pieces
  • 1 large lobster tail, cooked, and cut into chunks, shell and all
  • About 15 clams, scrubbed, unshucked
  • 1 1/2 cups whole shrimp, shell on, heads removed


Adapted from Lake Stream Sea Food Cookbook.

John’s motto is ‘release it unharmed or do it justice on the plate.’ Executive Chef, photographer, and surfer, John photographs ocean marine life when he’s out fishing, and creates masterpieces in the kitchen with what he keeps on deck. His photo works have been used in OEHHA Fish Advisories, National Geographic presentations, and nonprofit marine life groups. When he’s not fishing, he’s making great BBQ. Visit him at, and send him a message using the contact form using the link above.