N9NE Steakhouse chef shares the secrets of his cioppino sauce

Chef Barry Dakake serves Alaskan halibut and shellfish with his favorite cioppino sauce.
Photo: Beverly Poppe

Chef Barry Dakake’s current favorite dish might surprise you. “Of course, working at N9NE Steakhouse, we are known for grilled prime beef. But my favorite item on the menu right now is a sautéed Alaskan halibut with Littleneck clams and mussels in cioppino sauce,” Dakake says. “I make it at home all the time.” Fresh vegetables, flavorful lobster stock and a bit of spice highlight this sauce. “I’m not really about cooking with hundreds of ingredients; it’s more about using the best ingredients,” he says.

The Details

N9NE Steakhouse
Palms, 933-9900.
Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m.

Chef Barry Dakake mans the kitchen at N9NE Steakhouse.

This recipe can be used as Dakake does, as a complement to grilled or sautéed fish, or as a base for traditional seafood stew. Add your favorite shellfish with a side of crusty bread for a hearty, San Francisco-style meal.

Cioppino Sauce

(serves 4 or more)


6 carrots

3 onions

5 plum tomatoes

4 red peppers

1 fennel bulb

1 bunch celery

4 cups tomato paste

¼ bottle Pernod

3 pinches saffron

½ gallon red lobster stock

3 bay leaves

2 sprigs thyme

2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. crushed red chili flake

Method: Heat olive oil in stockpot. Add all vegetables along with fresh herbs, chili flake and peppercorns and cook through. Add tomato paste and cook for 10 minutes. Add Pernod and allow to reduce, then add lobster stock and saffron. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes. To finish, puree in blender or food processor, strain through China Cap or coarse strainer and adjust seasoning to taste.

Tags: Dining
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