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1 - 1½ Dungeness crabs, cleaned and in pieces
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoons tomato paste
â…› cup dry red wine
1 8-ounce can peeled tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved
1 8-ounce bottle of clam broth
1¼ cups water
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ dozen clams, scrubbed
½ pound firm, white-fleshed fish fillets such as Petrale sole
½ pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
½ pound mussels, scrubbed
¼ pound sea scallops, halved vertically if large
Crusty bread, for serving
In a very large soup pot, heat ¼ cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped garlic, jalapeños, bell peppers, onion and bay leaf, and cook, stirring occasionally, over moderately high heat until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute longer. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices and cook over moderately high heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the clam broth and water, season with salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the broth is reduced to about 8 cups, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the basil leaves with the whole garlic and process until the garlic is finely chopped. Add the remaining ½ cup of olive oil and the crushed red pepper and process until you have a smooth basil purée. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Add the crab to the pot. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the crab to a large platter.
Add the fish, shrimp, mussels, clams and scallops to the pot, pushing them into the broth. Return the crabs to the pot, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the clams and mussels are fully open and the fish, shrimp and scallops are cooked through, about 8 minutes longer.
Ladle the cioppino into deep bowls and drizzle each serving with some of the basil purée. Serve with crusty bread and pass the remaining basil purée separately.