Yields Makes 6 servings
Notes: You can complete soup through step 4 up to 1 day ahead, then cover and chill. Reheat to continue. For a less costly version, omit the lobster tails and increase the shrimp to 1 1/2 pounds.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

Trim off feathery fennel tops; rinse, drain, wrap airtight, and chill. Trim off and discard base of fennel head, any bruises, and tough stalks. Rinse and thinly slice fennel head.

Step 2
2

Trim tough tops and roots from leeks; pull off coarse outer layers. Cut tender sections of leeks in half lengthwise, rinse well, and thinly slice.

Step 3
3

In an 8- to 10-quart pan, combine fennel, leeks, garlic, and oil. Stir often over medium-high heat until vegetables are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 4
4

Add tomatoes with juice, broth, clam juice, wine, bay leaves, thyme, orange peel, and saffron. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

Step 5
5

Meanwhile, with scissors, cut fins and sharp spines from lobster tails. Also cut through top shells lengthwise down the center. Set each tail, underside down, on a board. With a heavy knife, slice tails in half lengthwise through cuts in shells. Rinse lobster tails, halibut, shrimp, and scallops.

Step 6
6

Add lobster, halibut, and shrimp to tomato mixture. Discard any clams or mussels that do not close when shells are tapped. Add clams and mussels to pan; cover and cook 5 minutes. Add scallops. Cover and simmer until mussels and clams pop open, 3 to 5 more minutes.

Step 7
7

Transfer cioppino to a tureen or ladle into wide bowls. Garnish with green fennel tops.

Ingredients

 1 head fennel (about 3 1/2 in. wide) with feathery green tops
 1 pound leeks
 3 cloves garlic, minced
 2 tablespoons olive oil
 2 cans (28 oz. each) diced tomatoes
 3 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
 2 cups bottled clam juice
 2 cups dry white wine
 2 dried bay leaves
 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or dried thyme
 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
 1/8 teaspoon powdered saffron (optional)
 3 spiny or rock lobster tails (1/2 lb. each), thawed if frozen
 1 pound boned, skinned halibut or swordfish, cut into 6 equal pieces
 3/4 pound (30 to 35 per lb.) shrimp, shelled and deveined
 1/2 pound bay scallops
 12 clams in shells, suitable for steaming, scrubbed
 12 mussels (about 3 in. each), beards pulled off, scrubbed

Directions

Step 1
1

Trim off feathery fennel tops; rinse, drain, wrap airtight, and chill. Trim off and discard base of fennel head, any bruises, and tough stalks. Rinse and thinly slice fennel head.

Step 2
2

Trim tough tops and roots from leeks; pull off coarse outer layers. Cut tender sections of leeks in half lengthwise, rinse well, and thinly slice.

Step 3
3

In an 8- to 10-quart pan, combine fennel, leeks, garlic, and oil. Stir often over medium-high heat until vegetables are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 4
4

Add tomatoes with juice, broth, clam juice, wine, bay leaves, thyme, orange peel, and saffron. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

Step 5
5

Meanwhile, with scissors, cut fins and sharp spines from lobster tails. Also cut through top shells lengthwise down the center. Set each tail, underside down, on a board. With a heavy knife, slice tails in half lengthwise through cuts in shells. Rinse lobster tails, halibut, shrimp, and scallops.

Step 6
6

Add lobster, halibut, and shrimp to tomato mixture. Discard any clams or mussels that do not close when shells are tapped. Add clams and mussels to pan; cover and cook 5 minutes. Add scallops. Cover and simmer until mussels and clams pop open, 3 to 5 more minutes.

Step 7
7

Transfer cioppino to a tureen or ladle into wide bowls. Garnish with green fennel tops.

Orange-Fennel Cioppino