Pike Place Market is a must-see for tourists visiting Seattle. The iconic fish throwing and neon entrance sign draw out thousands of cell phone cameras every day.
Year-round you’ll find tourists slowly sauntering down the hall of the market, looking at fish vendor after flower vendor after fresh produce vendor. Maybe sampling a sliver of apple or pear or stopping for a bite of chocolate pasta.
The Seattle landscape wouldn’t be the same without Pike Place Market, and I certainly wouldn’t be the cook I’ve become without this spot for constant inspiration. Even though the market offering looks similar day after day to tourists – give or take the seasonal flower display differences – I like to dig a bit deeper.
After what felt like a never-ending work week, I took a late Friday afternoon trip to the market for some dinner inspiration. I squeezed my way past tourists gawking at types of seafood they’d never seen before and stopping to take a colorful photo of the perfectly placed produce.
It’s worth noting I’ve stopped for those photos many times. It doesn’t get old, unless you’re on a mission.
I needed to find seafood that would inspire a delightful dinner. It was day 20 of this round of Whole30, and I had been stuck in a bit of a seafood rut. So, as I made my way through the crowd to my favorite seafood vendor, I saw the inspiration right front and center of Pure Food Fish Market – local mussels from Taylor Shellfish.
I got so excited, I didn’t even take a photo of the display. Generally, I turn into the guy who takes a photo of the before, during and after. Just in case, you know? I just grabbed two pounds of the mussels, and immediately knew it would be the start to a Pacific Northwest Cioppino that would also include some shrimp and Alaskan cod.
Cioppino is a seafood stew that gained popularity in San Francisco and is served regularly at restaurants up and down the West Coast. Access to fresh seafood from the Pacific Ocean, the kind of stuff you find at Pike Place Market, makes this dish a bit more affordable to make.
This version is Whole30-friendly and checks all of the boxes for a paleo diet. No use of a white wine, a mainstay for traditional recipes, in the broth. This would be perfect served alongside a loaf of crusty bread (plenty of options to pick that up at Pike Place Market, too), but that’s a definite no-no during a Whole30.
- 2 pounds mussels
- 1/2 pound shrimp
- 1/2 pound cod (or other white fish)
- 1 large onion
- 1 shallot
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 fennel bulb
- 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 8 ounces clam juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Prepare vegetables by dicing onion, shallot and red pepper. Cut fennel bulb into half-moon slivers, and fine dice garlic.
Once vegetables are prepared, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add in diced onion and shallot, stirring to cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent.
Stir in diced red bell pepper and cook for another 3 minutes or so, careful not to burn vegetables. Toss in minced garlic and fennel bulb slivers, and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Add in 4 cups vegetable broth, clam juice and crushed tomatoes. Once the broth begins to boil, add in bay leaf, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes (optional), salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to medium-low to simmer, and stir in tomato paste. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. While broth is simmering, prepare seafood.
Clean mussels, removing beards and rinsing thoroughly, discarding any ones with cracked shells. Peel and devein shrimp, if needed, leaving tails on (optional). Cut cod into chunks about the same size as shrimp, or approximately 1-inch cubes.
Once broth has been prepared, return heat to medium-high and add in mussels. Put a lid on the pot to allow steam to help mussels open up. This should take about 7-10 minutes.
After mussels have opened, remove lid and add cod chunks and shrimp, stirring to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes, until cod is cooked through.