The Best Cioppino in the World

Dinner at The Midwest Mermaid’s house generally consists of something that used to call the oceans — or the rivers — home. No, I’m not a pescatarian, I do eat meat … just not a lot of it. I’ve toyed with the idea of becoming a pescatarian but I live in Indianapolis and just can’t resist a St. Elmo steak every now and then.

One of my favorite dishes is Cioppino … or really any rendition of fish stew — especially if it has a little kick to it. Years ago I was in Vegas and at Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House … I don’t know if it’s still on the menu, but at the time they were serving a devilishly delightful version that literally knocked my socks off. Truth be known, I remember it so well that I can even tell you what I was wearing that night … a Tiffany-blue cocktail sundress that I happen to still own.

Ever since that fatefully delicious night, I’ve been recreating the dish at home, serving it with crusty bread and wine. I can’t give you a recipe … but I can tell you I use muscles, clams, shrimp, halibut or cod, calamari … red pepper flakes, a chunky tomato puree, lots of garlic, fresh herbs and good fish stock. And my version, pictured above, is a combination of both Emeril’s and Giada De Laurentiis’

So take a look at both and experiment … it’s an easy dish to make … yes, there are lots of ingredients, but once it gets put together there’s nothing to it — and it’s impressive when dished up … even Poseidon likes it 😉

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Hey there. I’m Shauna—a West Coast transplant in the landlocked state of Indiana … when I moved here I missed the beaches, the mountains, the desert, the rivers … and it took me a while to find places nearby that paralleled my old stomping grounds. BUT. Now that I’ve lived here for over 15 years, I’ve had time to explore the region and you know what? It’s amazing. There’s so much to do—from skiing in northern Michigan to relaxing lakeside in southern Kentucky to rocking the nightlife in one of the many metropolitan areas. And I love it here. I really do. BUT. I do miss the sea … and the sand and the rush of the waves … the smell of seawater … even the sting of too much sun after a day spent lollygagging at the beach. And I miss the constant supply of seafood and shellfish and riverfish? About that … since I’ve moved to the Midwest I’ve noticed that a lot of people here don’t consider fish that come from the river seafood … I’m not sure I agree, but hence the new word I’ve created, “riverfish” … time will tell if Webster picks it up ; ) So this little blog is my way of bringing a little bit of sea life (or is it sealife?) to the Midwest. Here you’ll find all kinds of information … some that you might find more useful than others—like where to find the best seafood (and riverfish) in the Midwest. And some, you might just find amusing … or not. Either way, and if nothing else, I hope you leave my little space here on the world wide web a little refreshed and maybe even a little inspired to bring a little bit of the ocean home with you. (Yes, I did use the word “little” four times in one sentence … it’s OK … mermaids like to repeat themselves.) Cheers! The Midwest Mermaid Oh, and if your curious, yes, I do actually write for a living … if you want to know about the organizations I work with and the publications where you can find my land legs, swim on over to the “Portfolio” tab … and thanks for visiting.

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