Zuppa d Pesce

Zuppa di Pesce — Lobster and Crab Stew



Learn the secret to creating a rich and nutritious seafood stew with this recipe.


  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chile flakes
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 Manilla clams, cleaned
  • 12 Prince Edward Island mussels, cleaned
  • 1 pound sea bass/salmon fillet, cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 cup calamari (squid), cleaned and sliced
  • 1 pound shrimp (size: 16/20 per pound), cleaned
  • 1 Maine lobster (1 1/2 pounds), steamed and cracked
  • 1 Dungeness crab, steamed and cracked
  • 4 cups shrimp/lobster/crab stock (see Chef’s Notes below)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste


In a large, deep sauté pan, combine thyme sprig, chili pepper, shallots and garlic with olive oil. Cook on low very heat for five minutes to extract the flavors. Add the clams, mussels, and sea bass/salmon. Add the white wine and cook till volume has reduced by half. Add calamari, shrimp, lobster, and crab. Add the lobster stock, and tomato sauce. (The stew at this point can be placed in the wood burning oven to finish) Continue to cook until all shellfish is open and the stew comes to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the chopped parsley and serve accompanied by a good artisan rustic bread.

Chef’s Notes

The stock is the secret to a great seafood stew, take the leftover shells of shrimp, lobsters and crabs that you might have eaten in prior meals and freeze them. When you have accumulated enough shells to make a stock (at least enough to fill a stock pot 3/4 of the way up). Place the shells (straight from the freezer) in a roasting pan, with 1 large onion, 3 roma tomatoes, two large carrots, 3 stalks of celery–all roughly chopped. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Add cups of white wine or brandy to scrape up any browned bits from the pan. Remove all contents of roasting pan and place in a stock pot. Cover contents with plenty of water and add 1 bunch of fresh thyme sprigs, 3 bay leaves, 1 bunch of parsley stems, 1 tablespoons of black peppercorns, two pinches of saffron threads, 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for at least three hours. Strain the stock and reserve. If you make excess stock it can be frozen. Other uses for this stock can be soups and risotto.