San Francisco Fish Stew

San Francisco Fish Stew

In Gluten-Free, Mains, Rice, Soup, Stovetop, Sugar-Free by Mandi Flake4 Comments

I have a special treat straight from my childhood memories for you today. From ages 8 to 13, when asked what I would like to have for my birthday dinner I would answer, San Francisco Fish Stew. At the time we lived just outside San Francisco, leading to my assumption that our geographic location was the inspiration behind the name of this dish, however upon a quick google search, I discovered it is really a version of Cioppino (commonly called San Francisco Fish Stew). However, most Cioppino recipes are very spicy and include a variety of seafood and extra flavorings like clam juice. However, I prefer my mother’s version as it is still accessible even for those of us who are a bit further inland, and it is easy enough to be a regular weeknight crowd-pleaser. Even my hubby, who is categorically skeptical of all things from the sea, was a convert with this stew.

San Francisco Fish Stew

I did make some adjustments to my mom’s tried and true version, largely to amplify flavors I love (garlic!) and downplay those I don’t (bell peppers)… But the biggest change I made was to use crushed tomatoes instead of a chunkier version, which gave the whole dish a soup-ier feel, which I really enjoyed when served over a bed of Jasmine rice. I also used flounder for my stew, as it was the best available to me at the time, but feel free to use whatever white fish you prefer! Also, a great adaptation of this recipe for people how like a little kick would be to add a teaspoon (or more!) of red pepper flakes and/or hot sauce into the sauce to lend a little pep.

San Francisco Fish Stew

Now that I have finally claimed this stew from the recesses of my memory and added my particular stamp on it, I have to say it is a great standby for feeding (and wowing!) a crowd, no wonder my mom made it a standby when I was young!

San Francisco Fish Stew


San Francisco Fish Stew

Yields 8

A tasty (NOT spicy) version of Cioppino, a tomato-based stew with fresh white fish, best served over rice or pasta.

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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms , chopped into large chunks
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 8 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (I used fresh, but dried is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 2 pounds (or less if you'd rather) flounder, or other white fish such as chilean sea bass, skin removed, and cut into 1 inch chunks


  1. In a dutch oven (or other large, heavy-bottomed pot), heat the oil and then sauté the garlic and onion until the onion turns translucent.
  2. Add the green pepper, mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, lemon, bay leaf, oregano, sugar, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine thoroughly.
  3. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer and then cook on medium for 20 minutes.
  4. Finally, add the chunks of fish, carefully stirring them into the pot so that they are all completely covered by the mixture and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  5. It is best served over rice (or some type of pasta). I used Jasmine rice, and it was perfect!



  1. Looks great – just about to head to my first photo shoot for our new foodie section on our blog – love your images – great inspo!

  2. This looks and sounds AMAZING! I love tomato with all my heart! Can’t wait to try it next time we catch some fish!

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