CRAB CIOPPINO

A Croatian Contribution

 

By Adam S. Eterovich

 

In February 1929, Sunset Magazine adopted the editorial policy that still guides it: a magazine of Western living for people who live in the West. Over the years, the recipes that have appeared in its pages have become a history of Western tastes.

 

Such factors as climate, geography, and ethnic mixtures have shaped its regional life style. Informality and a willingness to experiment are a large part of everyday experiences in the West.

 

They first presented San Franciscoís famous Cioppino in 1941, crediting its invention to San Francisco fishermen from the Dalmatian Coast (Croatia) Dungeness crab is the star of this robust shellfish stew; clams and shrimp add their flavors, too.

Itís traditional to sop up the thick tomato and garlic sauce with lots of extra-sour sourdough bread.

 

San Francisco Style Cioppino

 

1/4††† cup olive oil or salad oil

1††††† large onion, chopped

2††††† cloves garlic minced or pressed

1††††† large green bell pepper, stemmed,seeded, and chopped

2/3 †† cup chopped parsley

1 †††††† can 15oz tomato sauce

1 †††††† can 28oz tomatoes

1 †††††† cup dry red or white wine

1 †††††† bay leaf

1 †††††† teaspoon dry basil

1/2 †† teaspoon dry oregano leaves

12 †††† clams in shell, suitable for steaming, scrubbed

1 †††††† pound large shrimp (about 30 perlb), shelled and deveined

2 †††††† ive or cooked large Dungeness crab (about2lb each)

††††††††† ,cleaned and cracked

 

In a 6-8 quart pan over medium heat, combine oil, onion, garlic, bell pepper, and parsley; cook, stirring often, until onion is soft. Stir in tomato sauce, tomatoes (break up with a spoon) and their liquid, wine, bay leaf, basil, and oregano. Cover and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.

 

To broth, add clams, shrimp, and crab. Cover and simmer gently until clams pop open and shrimp turn pink, about 20 minutes longer.

 

Ladle hot broth and some of each shellfish into large soup bowls or soup plates.

 

Makes 6 servings.

 

DALMATIAN FISHERMEN

 

Dalmatian fishermen from the Dalmatian coast and islands of Croatia were fishermen and oystermen in the bayous of Louisiana, at Biloxi, Mississippi, Mobile Bay, Alabama and on the Texas Gulf Coast for up to two hundred years.

During the Gold Rush of 1848 they came to San Francisco. Tadich Grill is the oldest restaurant and fish house in San Franciscobeing organized by Dalmatians from Croatia in 1849. Other famous fish restaurants were Mayes Oyster House (1860ís), Samís (1860ís) Chrisís, Harpoon Louies, and many others, all owned by Dalmatians.

 

By 1880 there were over 250 Dalmatian fishermen in San Francisco. The Fishermenís Association had Dalmatian-Croatians as presidents and officers in the 1860ís-1870ís.

 

Many of the Dalmatian fishermen left San Francisco for the state of Washington, Canada and Alaska, others went to San Pedro in Southern California. The largest concentration of Croatian fishermen can be found in San Pedro with an approximate number of 10,000 in the San Pedro Harbor area.

 

In the 1830ís Captain John Dominis-Gospodnetich operating out of Hawaii barreled and shipped the first salmon out of the state of Washington to the Eastern United States and established the Salmon Trade. His son John Dominis-Gospodnetich married an Hawaiian princes who became the last queen of Hawaii-Queen Lilioukalani and Dominis-Gospodnetich became the King-Consort.

 

The first European settler and fisherman on Santa Catalina Island was Maricich. Another Dalmatian fisherman with his boat settled on an island off the Canadian Coast and married an Indian woman and later was obligated to also marry her two widowed sisters. He had 28 children and three wives. He became wealthy and his picture with his wife appeared as a lable on canned salmon.

 

The Dalmatian-Croatian made a considerable contribution to the fishing industry and style of fish preparation in the West.