Dungeness Crab Cioppino

It is Dungeness Crab season in Northern California and I decided I needed find a recipe that uses crab because they looked so delicious in the store. I found this Food and Wine recipe for Dungeness Crab Cioppino and decided to make this for a dinner party we were having that evening.  Although it is risky to try a new recipe for guests, I figured they are good friends and will forgive me if it bombs. The good news is that the cioppino turned out delicious and had lots of tender tasty morsels of crab. Yum! I simplified the recipe some and tailored it to my family’s tastes, but you can also check out the original recipe in the link below. 



Dungeness Crab Cioppino

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Savory cioppino that features fresh Dungeness crab.

Credit: Based on  Judith’s Dungeness Crab Cioppino, Food and Wine 


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, 6 finely chopped and 2 whole
  • 3 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 3 bell peppers, finely chopped (I used one red, orange and green)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • one 28-ounce can peeled and diced tomatoes
  • four 8-ounce bottles of clam broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • freshly ground pepper and salt
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 steamed Dungeness crabs (mine came steamed and cracked/cleaned from Whole Foods)
  • 1 pound of halibut, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 1 pound large scallops, halved if larger than bite size
  • Crusty garlic bread for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a very large soup pot or cast iron dutch oven. Add the chopped garlic, jalapeños, bell peppers, onion and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, over moderately high heat until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook, stirring for one minute.
  3. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about one minute longer.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the clam broth and water, season lightly with salt and generously with pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium-low heat until the broth is reduced a bit, about 20 minutes.
  6. While broth is simmering, combine the basil leaves with the whole garlic and process  in a small food processor (or blender) until the garlic is finely chopped. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil and the crushed red pepper and process the basil puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Clean the crabs if your fish monger has not done this for you and discard the inedible parts. The original recipe details how to clean the crab if you need to do this. I used the crab legs, claws and some of the body meat.
  8. Add the crab to the pot. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the fish and scallops for 5 minutes or so, until they are cooked through.
  9. Ladle the cioppino into deep bowls and drizzle each serving with some of the basil puree. Serve with the garlic bread. We served this with a Barolo and it was delicious!


November 23, 2016

Pesto sauce
finished cioppino

2 thoughts on “Dungeness Crab Cioppino

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