Oregon Cioppino

| December 28, 2011 | 4 Comments

The jetty at Garibaldi, where Tillamook Bay empties into the ocean.

A comment left on my jetty fishing post recently reminded me of how much I love to fish at the Garibaldi jetty, where Tillamook Bay empties into the ocean. The commenter had said he was bored and was looking for something to do and so he Googled jetty fishing and ended up on our site.

It has been a while since I’ve been to the ocean to fish. Too many six-day weeks. Too many seventy-hour weeks. When I’ve gone jetty fishing, I like to go on the first day of two consecutive days off, so that I can rest and recover on my second day off before going back to work. Jetty fishing is fun, but I’m not in as good a shape as I used to be. And I wouldn’t say that I can scamper down the huge rocks to a safe fishing perch. It’s more like sliding on my butt. One thing I’ve learned about jetty fishing is that it’s always easier going down than coming up those big boulders. And my legs are usually wobbly like Jell-o the next day.

So the next time I had two days off and the weather was clear at the coast, I told the family I was going fishing, packed up my gear and headed out. It was cloudy and foggy in Salem but when I got to Tillamook Bay two hours later, nearly midday, it was clear, sunny and calm — perfect for fishing on the jetty.

Two hours after finding a suitable spot — a flat rock about a yard away from the surface of the ocean — I felt the first tug on my line and reeled in as fast as I could. On the other end was a kelp greenling. A beautiful, dark-green, torpedo-shaped fish with yellow spots running down its side.

A nice-sized kelp greenling.

I’ve learned that the flesh of these fish is sweet and delicate, but they’re extremely bony. Into my bucket it went, and I fished for another couple of hours until it was time to head home.


On the drive, I was trying to think of what to do with my lone catch and decided that since it was cold and dreary at home, a seafood stew would be in order. So I stopped at the grocery store and got a couple dozen mussels and clams, six jumbo shrimp, a pre-cooked dungeness crab, a can of diced roasted tomatoes, and headed for home to start on my Oregon version of cioppino.

Oregon Cioppino

Serves 4


  1. 1 whole fish
  2. 6 cups (1,440 ml.) water
  3. 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) oil
  4. 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  5. 2 stalks celery, chopped into pieces
  6. 1 28-ounce (784 g.) can roasted diced tomatoes
  7. 2 cups (480 ml.)  Oregon pinot noir
  8. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) Worcestershire sauce
  9. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) salt
  10. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) balsamic vinegar
  11. 2 bay leaves
  12. 1 dungeness crab, cleaned and cut into quarters
  13. 1 dozen clams
  14. 1 dozen mussel


  • First clean and fillet your fish. (Chose a white-fleshed fish such as red snapper, rockfish, tilapia). Cut the fillets into large chunks.
  • Make a stock with the head and bones of the fish by bringing 6 cups of water to a soft boil and boiling the fish remains for about 10 minutes. Note: if you can’t find whole fish and want to use fillets, you can make the stock by boiling the shells that you’ve peeled from your shrimp.
  • In a large pan, heat oil over medium-high heat and cook onions and celery until they turn translucent.
  • Add the fish stock, can of diced tomatoes, pinot noir, worchestershire sauce, salt, balsamic vinegar and bay leaves, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the fish, dungeness crab, clams and mussels, stirring to make sure the sauce coats all the seafood; cover and simmer until all shellfish open.
  • Spoon into a large bowl and serve with a loaf of sliced sourdough.




Category: Seafood, Soup

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

Comments (4)

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  1. Lowell says:

    Every time I read Taste of Oregon I get hungry. Especially when the recipe uses seafood.

  2. Marlene says:

    That fish stew sounds wonderful.

  3. Victor says:

    Thanks Lowell! One of these days I’m going to rope you into going fishing with me or raking for cockles and then we’ll cook up our catch!

  4. Victor says:

    Was tasty indeed. Hope you and Bill are doing well. Happy New Year sis!

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