When February comes around, I begin to see seafood taking the spotlight at the grocery store. Whether you observe Lent or simply appreciate a good cut of fish or a shellfish dish, Aldi is a great place to stock up on your favorite foods from the water.
This is the time of year when I’ve spotted seafood such as breaded flounder, top crusted flounder, beer battered fillets, shrimp fajita or shrimp taco kits, lobster mac and cheese or shrimp and lobster bakes, stuffed clams, popcorn shrimp, and more on the shelves at Aldi. You also can’t go wrong with the Regular Buy Mediterranean herb salmon at Aldi. Or, sometimes my family likes to make our own shrimp tacos using simple Aldi ingredients.
Among the recent seafood options at Aldi are these two stews: a seafood stew and a cioppino stew.
The seafood stew features various fish, shellfish, and vegetables in a creamy broth.
The cioppino stew features fish and shellfish in a tomato-based sauce or broth. Cioppino is an Italian-American fish stew dish that originated in San Francisco. It features different types of fish and shellfish in a broth with tomatoes and white wine. Wikipedia states that cioppino originated when fishermen in the North Beach neighborhood in San Francisco who came back without a catch would go around with a pot and ask other fishermen to chip in anything they could. Whatever landed in the pot became cioppino. It was a reciprocal arrangement, so some days you might chip in to help another fisherman, and other days you might be the one asking people to chip in and help you out.
I bought both the seafood stew and the cioppino from Aldi.
Bremer Bistro Seafood Stew and Bremer Bistro Cioppino Stew cost $5.95 for each 16-ounce package at the time of publication. These are sold in bags in the freezer aisle. The seafood stew features Atlantic salmon, pollock, scallops, and shrimp with vegetables. The cioppino stew features mussels, shrimp, pollock, and squid with tomatoes and tomato sauce. These are products of France.
These are Aldi Finds, so they’re only in stores for a short time. Each store receives one shipment, and after that sells out, they’re gone unless Aldi decides to bring them back later. Aldi does not offer online ordering for products that are not in stock at your local store.
The packages have directions for heating the stew from frozen on the stovetop or in the microwave.
To heat on the stove (which is what I did), transfer the desired amount of frozen stew to a saucepan. Cover and cook on medium heat for 9 minutes for the cioppino stew or 20 minutes for the seafood stew, stirring frequently.
To heat in the microwave, transfer the desired amount of frozen product to a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave, cover, and cook on high for 16 minutes for the entire package or 8 minutes for half the package. There is no difference listed for cooking times between the seafood stew and the cioppino stew if you microwave them.
I heated both of our stews in saucepans on my stovetop. Everything pours out of the bags in small frozen chunks. The cioppino contains raw shrimp, so you’ll want to be sure to thoroughly cook the stew. It was boiling nicely by the end of its 9-minute cooking time.
It was harder to tell if the seafood stew contained raw fish since everything was frozen in little blocks and covered with sauce/broth. The seafood stew takes longer to heat on the stovetop (20 minutes), and you’ll want to stir it a lot so the creamy base doesn’t stick to the pan.
Both packages offer a warning: “Despite all the care taken in the preparation of fish, the exceptional presence of bones is not excluded. We recommend checking out the bites intended for small children.”
Keep reading for more information about each stew.
Bremer Bistro Seafood Stew
This is really good and is more like a chowder. The thick and creamy base is like a shrimp or seafood bisque, and this contains nice-sized chunks of salmon, pollock, scallops, and shrimp. It also has button mushrooms, zucchini, and carrots, but the seafood is the star of this stew and they did not use lots of veggies as inexpensive filler here. Of all the vegetables in this stew, there are probably more mushrooms than anything else, but we thought it had just the right amount. This stew is savory, and there are lots of scallops that add a little touch of sweetness.
My husband and I both enjoyed this and cleaned out the pot. It’s definitely not the same as New England clam chowder, but if you like New England clam chowder, this has some New England kinds of vibes. It’s restaurant-quality and very delicious.
The only downside to this seafood stew is that there isn’t a lot in the package. It will serve about two people, but the servings aren’t large (not much more than one cup each) and you’ll want to serve other foods with it. This could make a nice prelude to a larger meal of grilled salmon or some other type of fish, maybe served with a salad or other veggies and some good bread to sop up every drop of stew in the bowl. Or you could serve this with a small sandwich or salad like a “pick two” type of meal from a restaurant.
If you’re looking out for allergens, this contains milk, fish (salmon, pollock, cod, anchovy), and crustacean shellfish (shrimp, lobster, green crab).
One bag contains about 2.5 one-cup servings. One serving has 190 calories, 11 grams of total fat (14% DV), 7 grams of saturated fat (34% DV), 490 mg of sodium (22% DV), 5 grams of total carbohydrates (2% DV), 1 gram of total sugars, and no added sugars.
Bremer Bistro Cioppino Stew
This has a tomato sauce “broth” and includes plenty of mussels, shrimp, pollock, and squid rings. It’s got some spiciness to it thanks to the addition of cayenne pepper. It’s only mildly spicy, but we kept our water glasses nearby. This is good restaurant-quality stew just like the seafood stew above, but this wasn’t our favorite of the two stews. It has a lot of good flavor and generous amounts of seafood, but which stew you like better depends on your personal tastes and whether you prefer a mild and creamy stew (like the one above) or a spicy stew in a tomato broth like this cioppino.
Again, there isn’t a lot of stew in the bag, so if you’re serving more than one person, you’ll want to have some other foods to go along with this. It would go well served with a big salad, some grilled fish, or pasta. It would also be good with some fancy bread to help sop up the stew.
If you’re looking out for allergens, this contains fish (pollock, cod) and crustacean shellfish (shrimp).
One bag contains about 2 one-cup servings. One serving has 140 calories, 4 grams of total fat (5% DV), 0.5 grams of saturated fat (3% DV), 980 mg of sodium (43% DV), 12 grams of total carbohydrates (4% DV), 6 grams of total sugars, and no added sugars.
Bremer Bistro Seafood Stew and Bremer Bistro Cioppino Stew are both excellent choices from the freezer aisle at Aldi. These are products of France and showed up as limited-time specials just prior to the start of the Lenten season, when Aldi showcases all kinds of seafood options.
The seafood stew is more like a chowder, with a thick creamy base and lots of scallops, pollock, salmon, and shrimp, along with some mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini. The cioppino stew has a tomato sauce/broth base with squid rings, mussels, pollock, and shrimp, and it is mildly spicy. Both of these stews taste delicious and are as good as anything you might get at a restaurant, although we’re more partial to the creamy seafood stew.
These are both easy to heat from frozen on the stovetop or in the microwave. The only downside is that neither package contains a lot of stew, but what there is is very good.
I am cooking the stew now