• 1 hour
  • Serves 4

Chef Aaron Bludorn’s take on Cioppino references his background growing up on the West Coast and his new home near the Gulf. Aaron cooks this dish for his family each New Year’s Eve and has adapted his holiday recipe, which is now a permanent fixture on his menu.

Bludorn’s Cioppino boasts the familiar spicy tomato broth base and is filled with fresh Gulf fare including red snapper, crab, shrimp, and mussels. A thin sourdough crostini is placed atop the bowl with fresh herbs paying homage to the original way of serving Cioppino in San Francisco in a sourdough bowl.  

Cioppino (Bludorn)
Photo by Julie Soefer


Fennel-Tomato Base

  • olive oil
  • 1 lb yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 lb fennel, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 bottle white wine
  • Two, 5-lb cans tomatoes, diced (liquid included)
  • 1 sachet (chili flakes, thyme, bay leaves, black peppercorn, fennel seeds, basil stems)
  • 1 L clam stock

Baguette Chip

  • 1/2 baguette, sliced 1-in thick
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Crab Salad

  • 1 lb lump crab
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 bunches basil, chiffonade
  • olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • sea salt and black pepper

Red Snapper

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • Four, 5-oz pieces red snapper
  • salt and white pepper

Final Ingredients

  • 12 shrimp
  • 12 clams
  • 12 mussels


Fennel-Tomato Base

  1. In olive oil, sweat onions, fennel, and garlic until translucent.
  2. Add tomato paste until light fond is formed, deglaze with white wine and reduce by half.
  3. Add sachet and canned tomatoes with liquid included. Cook until almost dry. Reserve for service.

Baguette Chip

  1. Place sliced baguette between two pieces of parchment paper and two flat sheet trays, and season with salt, black pepper, and olive oil. Cook at 280℉ until crispy and golden brown on the outside and crunchy in the middle.

Crab Salad

  1. Pick through crab meat and remove shells.
  2. Right before serving, season with shallots, one bunch of basil chiffonade, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, sea salt, and black pepper (reserve the other bunch of basil chiffonade for garnish).

Red Snapper

  1. In non-stick pan, heat canola oil to a light smoking point.
  2. Season portioned fish with salt and white pepper, add fish skin side down to pan, and cook on medium high heat, gently pressing down on flesh so that skin of the fish makes contact with the pan. Continue to cook until fish has a crispy golden brown skin, then place in the oven and cook 2 minutes so that the fish is fully cooked.
  3. Place on top on Cioppino after stew is complete.

To Serve

  1. In a large pot, heat up fennel tomato base, then add clams and stir in compote. Place lid on the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Remove lid and add mussels, put lid back on and cook 2 more minutes, then remove lid again and add shrimp, cook 2 more minutes.
  2. Once all shells have opened for clams and mussels, place cooked red snapper on top, then spoon over crab salad in dollops (about 1 Tbsp in size), sprinkle chiffonade basil on top, and serve with bread on the side!

Support Your Local Chef

Bludorn Restaurant

807 Taft St
Houston, TX 77098  |  Map

City Guide Details

Interested in submitting a recipe? Email Us.