Photos by Michael Kartes

Crab, prawns, salmon, halibut, clams galore — if you desire fresh Northwest seafood (and of course you do), then you will fall head-over-heels for this simple yet flavorful Northwest cioppino, and so will everyone who is lucky enough to share it with you. Don’t forget a crusty bread to sop up all the saucy goodness in the bowl. Get every drop!


Serves 4

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes


  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • Kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste 
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 sprigs lemon thyme
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth,
    or water
  • Pinch of saffron
  • ½ pound fresh halibut
  • 1 pound fresh salmon
  • 1 pound fresh steamer clams
  • 1 pound fresh spot prawns or any large-count prawns you prefer
  • 2 fresh Dungeness crab, cooked and cleaned
  • Extra virgin olive oil to finish
  • Lemon wedges for garnish


To make the stew, sauté the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of butter and olive oil along with chili flakes, salt, and pepper over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add paprika, cook 30 seconds, and then add white wine to deglaze. Cook 7 to 10 minutes, and reduce wine by half. Add tomatoes and lemon thyme, and cook 7 to 10 minutes to reduce tomatoes and develop their flavor. Add chicken broth and saffron, and simmer another 7 to 10 minutes. Add the final 2 tablespoons of butter, and melt it into the soup.

Step 2

Slice the fish into 2-inch cubes; pieces should all be roughly the same size. Begin this process 10 minutes before serving. Heat the broth between medium and medium-high. With the broth at a simmer, add clams and cook 2 minutes. Then add fish and cook 6 minutes. Then add spot prawns and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure to cover with a lid between each addition of seafood. Finally, add cooked crab to warm through, roughly 1 minute. Check for seasoning before serving.

Step 3

Serve a half-section of crab in each bowl, along with fish, clams, and prawns. Cover with the delicate, rich broth; garnish with lemon wedges; add a splash of olive oil; and enjoy! Don’t forget artisan bread and plenty of butter.


  • To avoid overcooking the fish, if you need a little more time before serving, just turn the heat off while adding fish and shrimp to the broth for cooking.
  • Clams should take 5–10 minutes to open. Discard any clams that have not opened after 15 minutes.
  • Halibut and salmon need to cook as smaller chunks poached at 140 degrees for roughly 6 minutes.
  • Spot prawns need to be cooked 2 to 3 minutes or until opaque.