Here’s the recipe for that delicious cioppino! Niles has made two batches of this in recent weeks, and both times it was delicious. I had eaten cioppino before, but I had always assumed it was Italian, not Italian-American. Pretty cool that it was invented in San Francisco, right? Niles (who was also invented in San Francisco) was kind enough to thoughtfully help me figure out the best times for each kind of seafood, which is pretty helpful… but as always, trust your own instincts. If your fish looks opaque, if your shrimp is nicely pink, it’s good to go. Niles points out that if you get crab or mussels already out of the shell, it’s often already cooked, in which case you only want it heated through. And if your seafood is frozen, just let it cook another extra minute or two – seafood cooks fast, and it’s easy to overcook it, but if you’re paying attention you should be fine.

Anyway, cioppino is my favorite kind of recipe – one with a simple base, a general structure, and lots of delicious optional variations, open to some improvisation.

There should be a word for that kind of recipe. Should we invent one? What do you think of “Smorgasbowl”?