Cacciucco: Cacciucco is an Italian fish stew native to the western coastal towns of Tuscany and Liguria.It is a hearty stew consisting of several different types of fish and shellfish. According to one tradition, there should be five different types of fish in the soup, one for each letter c in cacciucco.
A wide variety of Mediterranean fish and shellfish may be used, such as red gurnard, armored gurnard, scorpion fish (scorfano) and small clams such as littleneck or manila, firm-fleshed fish such as monkfish or other whitefish, red snapper, John Dory, or grouper, mussels, shrimp and calamari. Traditionalist chefs add a stone taken from the sea to the dish. Crabs, eels, cuttlefish, octopus, bream, mullet, or anything else caught that day might be used.
Ingredients for Cacciucco
- 1/2 kg cuttlefish, roughly chopped
- 1/2 kg octopus, roughly chopped
- 1/2 kg mixed fish (gurnard, sea-robin and scorpion fish)
- 1/2 kg mixed shellfish (clams and mussels)
- 1/2 kg of prawns and shrimp
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 5 sage leaves
- 1 chilli
- 1 tin of tomato paste (400 gms)
- 200 ml white wine
- 12 slices of Tuscan bread
- 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 400 ml fish sauce
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper powder, to taste
Method for Cacciucco:
- Toast the tuscan bread slice, rubbed with a garlic clove, till crisp.
- Season the toasted bread with pepper and keep aside.
- Wash and clean all the octopus and fishes under clean running water.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat.
- Fry in the chopped garlic, sage and chilly.
- Pour in wine and add tomato paste.
- Cook till the white wine is reduces to half.
- Add in the roughly chopped octopus and cuttlefish.
- Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir occasionally.
- Add in 1/2 kg of mixed fish.
- Simmer till the fish is cooked through, takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in another saucepan cook all the fish heads in fish stock.
- Cook till the stock is reduced to half.
- Blend and puree the fish heads with the reduced stock.
- Strain the puree through a mesh.
- Add the strained puree to the saucepan with fish cooking in it.
- Add in the prawns and shrimp.
- Add in all the shellfish.
- Cover the saucepan.
- Cook for 7-8 minutes until the mussels and clams open up.
- Season the Cacciuccowith salt and black pepper powder.
- Cacciucco is ready to be served.
- Serve the Cacciucco in soup dish by placing the bread slice on the bottom and covering with fish soup.
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