Cooked crabs, or crab legs can be added to the cioppino at the end.
*Use boned and skin on sea bass such as branzino (loup de mer), scaled, gutted, gills and eyes removed. Save bones and heads. Soak fish bones and heads in cold water; let water running in thin string until water turns clear. Drain and set aside. Shelled shrimps but tail left on, and deveined, save shells. Debeard mussels and scrubbed in cold water, drain. Soak clams in cold water with some corn meal for an hour to encourage the clams to spit out more sand, and scrub. Set aside.
*Fish fumet can be substituted for 2 cups (500g) clam juice and 4 cups (1L) water. Heat up a large pot, add olive oil and sweat onions, fennel, garlic, lemon zest and peppercorns for 10 min on medium-low heat, covered. Add broken fish bones, heads and shrimp shells – stir well and cook for 5 min; covered. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 min on medium heat; covered. Add the hot chicken stock or water, 2 parsley stems and a bay leaf – bring to boil and let simmer for 20 min; uncovered – skimming off impurities as it goes. Turn off heat, cover the fish fumet et let infuse 20 min more. Drain and reduce fish fumet by a third.
(Fond Blanc de Volaille). Place chicken parts (Necks, wings, backs, feet) under cold running water until they are cleared of remaining blood and impurities. In a large pot, place chicken and all ingredients along with 3 parsley stems, 4 sprigs fresh thyme, a bay leaf, and a few black peppercorns (No salt). Bring to boil and let simmer slowly for 2 to 4 hours; covered. Do not stir the stock or it will get cloudy. Eventually skim off surface to remove remaining impurities. Carefully pass the chicken stock, discard solids and let cool over ice water. Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for several weeks. Skim off the fat left on the surface of the chilled stock before using. Chicken stock can be used for many dishes, soups and sauces. It can also be reduced to concentrate its flavors.
In a hot large pot, add olive oil, onions, fennel and garlic. Season with salt. Cook for 8 min on high heat stirring every so often. Add tomato paste and sear it. Deglaze with Pernod (optional). Deglaze with red wine and reduce to dry. Add diced tomatoes and cook for 5 min. Add fresh and some dried thyme and oregano. Add fish fumet, bring to a boil and season to taste with grey salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes. Let simmer for about an hour; uncovered. Immerse seafood and fish in stew, bring to boil and cook for 7 min on low heat; covered. Cook 9 min if using clams. Served with olive oil toasted country bread slices. Enjoy!