San Francisco Cioppino

Serves 8-10

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter
2 medium onions, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh parsley leaves, chopped
2 (14.5-ounce) cans of plum tomatoes, undrained and cut
2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
12 fresh mussels in the shell
1 1/2 pounds raw extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds halibut filet, cut into bite size chunks
1 (2 pound) Dungeness crab , cracked and cleaned
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large soup pot or heavy cast-iron Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and parsley, cooking slowly until the onions have softened. Add the tomatoes, clam juice, bay leaves, thyme, oregano and white wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 45 minutes. If sauce becomes too thick, use more wine or water to thin.

At this point, you may cool the stock, refrigerate covered for up to 2 days. To use, reheat just until boiling, then reduce heat to low so the broth is simmering gently.

Clean and prepare all the seafood. Scrub the mussels with a stiff brush under cold water and remove the beards from the mussels. Discard any opened mussels.

Gently stir in the mussels, shrimp, halibut filet, and cracked crab into heated stock. Cover and simmer gently until the mussels open and shrimp and crab meat is opaque. Avoid over cooking the seafood, it will continue to cook after it is removed from the heat.

Ladle the broth and seafood into large soup bowls. Serve with crusty sourdough bread.