2009 Charbono Wine Pairing

by Autumn on July 25, 2011


Whether I’m in need of picnic supplies, a quick bite to eat, or an emergency cupcake, I can usually find what I need at the Oxbow Public Market.   I’ll use just about any excuse I can to stop in and peruse the Market and this pairing was just what I’d been looking for to get me through the doors again.  I found most everything I needed for this Cioppino recipe at the Kanaloa Seafood Market, Whole Spice and Oxbow Produce & Grocery.

Cioppino is a dish that was developed by Italian fishermen who had settled in the North Beach district of San Francisco in the late 1800’s. It was originally produced as a collaborative dish on the docks as the fishermen would contribute a portion of their catch from the day; usually crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, muscles and fish. While this dish was inspired by the soups specific to these fisherman’s countries of origin, Cioppino is wholly San Franciscan and pairs excellently with our 2009 Old Vine Charbono.

To make it more authentic, don’t shell the shrimp and allow a little extra time for them to cook. Pasta cooking water helps lightly thicken the broth, but plain water will do. This recipe calls for Harissa, which is a North African spice mix or paste. You can find the paste ready made in specialty food stores, purchase the blended spice dry or make your own from scratch.


  • 8 garlic cloves—3 lightly crushed and 5 minced
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Two 35-ounce cans whole Italian peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with their liquid
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, white and tender green, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons harissa
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups water, preferably pasta cooking water
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm-fleshed white fish fillets, such as rockfish, halibut, scrod or tilefish
  • 10 stone crab claws, cracked, or 3 live Dungeness crabs, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 1/4 pounds small mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 pound cleaned small squid, bodies cut into 1/2-inch rings, tentacles halved, or baby octopus
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Crusty bread, for serving

In a large nonreactive pot, sauté the crushed garlic in 1/4 cup of the oil over moderately high heat until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to moderate and cook, stirring, until reduced to 5 cups, about 30 minutes. Mash in the sautéed garlic. Transfer the tomato sauce to a large bowl and wipe out the pot.

Return the pot to high heat and add the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Add the onion, scallions, marjoram and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the parsley, anchovies, harissa and minced garlic and cook, stirring, until the anchovies break apart and the garlic is just turning golden, about 2 minutes.

Add the wine and cook over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the pasta water and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Add the fish, crab, mussels, squid and the shrimp, cover and cook until the seafood is cooked through and the mussels have opened, about 4 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and any unopened mussels. Season with slat and pepper and serve with the bread.

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