Mexican Cioppoino

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 1h

Serves 8

This rich soup from Veracruz coast can be served as an appetizer or as a meal itself. The masa harina is used as a thickner and also gives the soup a distinctive flavor. If it is not available, you can just omit it; the stock will be slightly thinner but this Mexican interpretation of cioppino will be just as delicious.


  • 2 pounds red snapper or sea bass, cleaned and scaled, with the head and bones reserved
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 6 cups water
  • 8 ounces small shrimp (prawns), unpeeled
  • 4 dried cascabel chiles or large guajillo chiles, 3 with seeds and stems removed and 1 whole
  • 1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound squid, cleaned, with tentacles removed and cut into 1/4-inch rings
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina blended with 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 small bay leaf


Remove the fillets from the fish, then skin and cut into 2-inch pieces. Set aside.

Put the fish head and bones, thyme, oregano, salt and water into a large saucepan and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp and peel. Strain the stock and reserve.

Soak the 3 seeded chiles in hot water for about 10 minutes to soften. Drain, discard the liquid, and puree the chiles in a blender with 1/2 cup of the reserve stock until smooth. Add the tomatoes and continue to blend until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for approximately 5 minutes until translucent. Add the tomato mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil rises to the surface, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the remaining fish stock, the fish pieces, squid, and shrimp. Bring the mixture to a simmer.

Add the masa harina mixture, bay leaf and the whole chile. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Serve.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.

RecID 920

nutrition information per serving

306 calories; 12g total fat; 217mg cholesterol; 584mg sodium; 8g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 39g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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