It’s all about clams, really, but we don’t know what to call it. It’s not cioppino, or chowder, or soup. It’s kind of like a clam stew, without heavy cream or tomatoes. Whatever you call it, this dish is absolutely delicious, and perfect for cooler Fall nights.
We first tasted something like this when we were making wine at White Rock Vineyards. Christopher Vandendriessche, the winemaker there, had a harvest lunch tradition and this cioppino (or stew, or whatever you want to call it) was a recipe that made it up to the crush pad one day from the Vandendriessche home on the hill not so far away. We loved it.
We couldn’t think of a better winter dish to enjoy with our Chardonnay, but you can make it with just about any dry white wine. The balance of the hot and hearty stew and the cool and crisp Carneros Chardonnay is a perfect match. And you can personalize this recipe with whatever is fresh or on hand at the market: clams, scallops, shrimp, or crab — even halibut or any other fatty white fish — all pair nicely in this perfect harvest meal.
Ingredients (for four people):
- 2 lb. Clams (Cherry Stone or Little Neck are perfect, but any kind will do)
- 2 lb. Dungeness Crab, cracked and cleaned
- 1/2 lb. Medium shrimp (16#)
- 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled, cut into 1″ cubes
- 3 strips of thick-cut bacon, cut into strips
- 1 cup diced sweet white onion
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 cups of Chardonnay*
- 2 cups of vegetable stock, chicken stock, or just water
- 1/4 cup fresh cut Parsley
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 tsp. Thyme
- 1/2 tsp. Oregano
- 2 Tbsp. Butter
- 2 Tbsp. Oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
* We use Chardonnay, but any dry white wine will do.
1. Over medium-low heat cook the bacon in a large stockpot. When the bacon browns, add the butter and oil. When the butter has melted, add onions, garlic and parsley. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until onions are soft. 5 minutes. (You don’t quite want the bacon to crisp too much.)
3. Add the wine and scoop up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
4. Add the stock, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, potatoes, clams, crab, and shrimp. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer just about 15 minutes. Stir once: you want to blend the flavors, not destroy the potatoes.
4. Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty French bread, and a cool, crisp glass of Crosby Roamann Chardonnay.