Great dishes are often born of memory and whatever ingredients happen to be on hand. Such was the case with cioppino, the emblematic fish stew of San Francisco. During the mid-1800s, the city's immigrant Italian fishermen used what was left of the day's catch to cook a thick purée of fish and vegetables, much as they had in their home port of Genoa. They called it ciuppin, dialect for "little soup." Over time, Sicilians replaced the Genoese on the fishing boats, and in their cooking pots cioppino, as it came to be called, acquired peppers and tomatoes, and the fish was left in chunks. Today cioppino is a sumptuous, garlicky, tomatey stew brimming with several different kinds of available fish, shellfish, wine herbs, and olive oil—transcending its origins as a poor man's dish.
Classic Cioppino: This tomato-based seafood stew takes its inspiration from the communal feasts Italian fishermen created on San Francisco docks