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Cioppino di Crema, Fish Soup, Food Gypsy

Cioppino di Crema

  • Author: Cori Horton
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves 8


Cioppino di Crema, is an Italian-American-inspired cream-based fish soup, with fish poached whole and lightly torn for a tasty, rustic bowl of warmth and goodness. Simple ingredients underscore the taste of the sea, with little to no interference, for a hearty soup that doubles as a simple meal or celebration starter.


Units Scale
  • 1 cup pancetta, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, white only, split lengthwise, chopped & washed (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (2 teaspoons fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (see note)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 110 ounce salmon fillet, skin on
  • 23 ounce haddock fillets
  • 1/4 cup flatleaf parsley
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add a generous slick of olive oil. When the oil starts to shimmer add fresh, chopped pancetta and sweat lightly, stirring to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  2. As the pancetta is just beginning to turn golden-brown, add onions and sweat, combined with the pancetta for about two minutes, before adding your leeks.  Sweat the mixture down over medium heat for about three minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and transparent.
  3. Check your level of olive oil, if the pancetta mixture looks dry, add another tablespoon or so of olive oil and bring it to temperature before adding flour, mixing lightly and toasting for 3 to 5 minutes to make your roux. Now add your cold stock (or water), and dried herbs; thyme, basil, and oregano. Season lightly with salt and pepper and bring broth to a low boil, for about 5 minutes, to thicken and reduce your broth by about a quarter.
  4. Reduce your heat to low. and slowly add heavy cream. Check the consistency and flavour of your broth. We’re looking for a soup that is almost sauce-like, not thin and runny. As the Cioppino di Crema base comes to temperature, ease the salmon fillet, whole, into the hot creamy broth, cover it with a tight lid and let stand for five minutes on low heat.
  5. Remove the lid and gently scoop out the salmon fillet into a small bowl.  With a large spoon gently scrape the now thin, easy-to-remove salmon skin. With the side of your spoon gently tear the salmon flash into good-sized pieces and return the flesh to the broth.
  6. Remove the pot completely from the heat, and add the haddock or white fish of your choice. Replace the lid and poach fillets for about three minutes. Then stir, to break down any large-ish chunks of fish. Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve, immediately. OR – hold for up to an hour, off-heat, and then slowly re-warm over medium-low heat to serve.


Washing leeks: Leeks are sandy little suckers. You’ll often find dirt trapped between the leaves. To wash the leeks properly remove the root and everything above the pale green of the stalk. Then slipt lengthwise and cup into half-moon pieces about a centimeter wide. Place chopped leeks in a bowl.  Fill a bowl with water so your leek bits float.  Agitate lightly and let them stand in the water for about 3 minutes then gently scoop out the floating leeks into a colander or sive and discard dirty water.  This way all the dirt sinks to the bottom and your leeks are squeaky clean.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Soups
  • Method: Poaching
  • Cuisine: Italian-American

Keywords: Cioppino di Crema, Italian Fish Soup, Fish Stew