Shrimp: wild caught, large 16-20 per lb, 3-4 per person, peeled and deveined
Calamari whole: 1 per person, sliced into rings with tentacles
Mussels: 3-4 per person
Clams: 3-4 per person
1 lb cod or other firm fleshed white fish, wild caught only and cut into chunks
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
3 cups tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
2 cups white wine
Sprinkle of oregano,Sea salt,hot pepper flakes, optional
Use a large stock pot to assemble the cacciucco. Be sure to have one big enough for all the ingredients. Put the mussels in a pot large enough to hold them when opened and place over high heat. Cook until all the mussels are open, shaking the pot to help them along and being sure not to over cook them. Take them out of the pot and set the liquid they give up to one side, separate from the mussels. Do the same with the clams, adding the clam liquid to the mussel liquid.
In the largest pot, put the olive oil, garlic and 2 tbsp parsley, along with the hot pepper flakesif you're using them, and place it over the fire. Cook just until the garlic starts to sizzle and cook, then add the white wine and cook it for 5 minutes until almost cooked off. Add the tomatoes, sea salt to taste, a few pinches of oregano and a little additional olive oil. When the tomatoes have heated up, add the cod pieces and the liquid from the mussels and clams. Taste for salt. Allow this to simmer for a few minutes, until the cod is cooked and starts to fall apart. You can turn it off at this point if you wish until right before you're ready to serve. Take the shrimp and calamari out of the fridge 30 minutes before you're ready to cook them.
When you're ready to bring the dish to the table, bring the tomato sauce back to a simmer and add the shrimp all in one go and stir til the shrimp are
mixed in. Be careful not to let them boil, only cook them for a couple of minutes; if you overcook them, they become rubbery. When the shrimp have been in there two minutes, add the calamari all in one go and stir. Put the lid on the pot and turn the fire off while you prepare the plates
To shallow bowls, add a slice of bruschetta and a drizzle of olive oil. Place the mussels and clams in the bowls on top of the bruschetta. Take the lid off the pot, add the final tablespoon of parsley and stir; portion out the shrimp to each plate. Using a ladle, scoop the soup on top of the seafood and bruschetta, portioning out the calamari. Serve the cacciucco with lots of extra bruschetta or French bread and a good vermentino white wine. Enjoy!
Bruschetta: I like to use Tuscan Pane from Trader Joe's. It has the characteristics of Tuscan bread and stands up well to the sauce without getting sticky and gummy and falling apart. If you can't get that, use a good hearty country loaf. Lightly toast the bread, lightly run a clove of garlic over the warm toasted bread (no rubbing!) and drizzle it with a good extra virgin olive oil.