Chef Michael Mina is a big 49ers fan.

San Francisco Chef Michael Mina is one of our culinary titans, with 17 restaurants in 8 states. (For details, visit his web site here.)  He’s also a big 49ers fan and is currently in New Orleans for the game. Also, as many top chefs do, Mina uses ingredients that are not in season right now, specifically, basil stems and red and yellow bell peppers. I’ll leave it up to you to decide to use these ingredients or not.

As you would expect, his recipes are the recipes of a chef with a big staff at his disposal. I’ve taken many liberties with both the style in which the recipes are written and the techniques, so that the work makes sense to and is manageable for a home cook. If this cioppino appeals to you but all the work doesn’t, you might consider a planned potluck. Have one person cook the crab, another make the broth, a third make the rouille and a fourth the clams and mussels. Assembly, including of the Crab Toasts, can be a group effort.

Michael Mina’s Dungeness Crab Cioppino with Clams, Mussels, Rouille & Crab Toasts• Serves 4 to 8, depending on other menu items

Chef Mina's Cioppino is quite an extravaganza.

  • 4 large Dungeness crabs, cooked and cooled
  • Cioppino Broth (recipe follows)
  • Red Pepper Rouille (recipe follows)
  • Crab Toasts (recipe follows)
  • Steamed Mussels and Clams (recipe follows)
  1. First, clean the crab and pick the meat from the shells, reserving the shells. Discard the innards. Put the meat into a glass or stainless steel bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Make the broth.
  3. Make the rouille.
  4. Make the toasts.
  5. Prepare the clams and mussels
  6. To serve, keep the broth hot over a low flame or in a slow cooker or crockpot set on low or warm. Arrange the crab, rouille and crab toasts next to the broth so that guests can put together their own bowls of delicious cioppino with a dollop of rouille on top and a crab toast alongside

Cioppino Broth

  • Shells of 4 Dungeness crab, broken or chopped
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 leeks, white part only, sliced thinly
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced removed
  • 2 red Fresno chiles or j2 alapeños, thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Stems from 1 bunch of basil
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart (4 cups) fish fumet or clam juice
  • Juice of 4 oranges
  1. Set a large soup pot or Dutch oven over high heat, add the crab shells and grape seed oil and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add onions, leeks, celery, carrots, fennel, garlic, and chiles Fresnos and saute over medium low heat until the vegetables soften, about 15 minutes.
  3. Season with salt, stir in the tomato paste and continue cooking until the tomato paste turns sticky and begins to brown.
  4. Add the basil stems and wine and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half.
  5. Place fennel and coriander seeds in a small mesh tea ball or square of cheesecloth and add to the pot. Stir in the diced tomatoes, the fish fumet or clam juice and the orange juice.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer gently for 45 minutes.
  7. Remove the ball of coriander and fennel. Taste, correct for salt and remove from the heat.
  8. When the broth has cooler, use an immersion blender or standard blender to puree it–working in batches– just enough to break up the crab shells. Pour through a standard strainer into a clean pot.

Red Pepper Rouille

  • 1 garlic bulb, cloves peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted, cooled, peeled and seeded
  • 4 Fresno chiles or jalapenos, roasted, cooled, peeled and seeded
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs, lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  1. Put the peeled garlic into a small pot, add the olive oil and set over medium heat. As soon as small bubbles begin to appear, reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Strain the oil into a clean container and reserve the garlic for another use.
  2. Put the peppers and chiles into a food processor and pulse several times. Add the orange zest, egg yolks, orange juice, lemon juice and bread crumbs and pulse until smooth and creamy. With the machine operating all the while, slowly drizzle in the oil. Don’t hurry with the oil or the emulsion might break.
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. To serve, set aside 1/2 cup for the crab toasts and set the rest alongside the cioppino.

Crab Toasts

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh Dungeness crab meat (from the main recipe)
  • 1/2 cup rouille (from the recipe above)
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 1/2 thin baguette, cut in diagonal slices, lightly toasted
  1. Put the crab into a medium bowl, add the rouille, chives and lemon zest and season lightly with kosher salt and several turns of black pepper. Toss together but do not overmix. Taste and adjust for salt and acid, adding a bit more lemon juice if needed for balance.
  2. Transfer the crab mixture to a small serving bowl set on a plate, add the toasted baguette slices and serve alongside the cioppino.
Wine-Steamed Clams & Mussels

It doesn't take long to prepare mussels and clams; it's the easiest part of this feast.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into small dice
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • 2 pounds PEI mussels, rinsed and trimmed as needed
  • 2 pounds clams, rinsed
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  1. Pour the olive oil into a medium pot set over medium heat. Add the fennel and onions, season with salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the garlic and bell pepper, stir and continue to saute until soft and fragrant, about 15 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to high, add the mussels, clams and wine and bring the wine to a boil.
  3. When the first clam or mussel opens, cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until all the shellfish has open.
  4. Remove from the heat and cool. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shellfish to a warm serving bowl and set it alongside the cioppino broth so guests can help themselves. Alternately, pick the meat from the shells so that guests don’t have to both with this step (personally, I prefer to have the shellfish in their shells).