The History of Cioppino
Origin of the Word Cioppino
Recipes and More Facts about Cioppino
More Facts about Cioppino
Urban Legend of the origin of the name Cioppino
Food historians generally agree cioppino originated in California (most often cited San Francisco Bay area). The group of Italians credited for the recipe immigrated from Northern Italy, specifically Genoa. The fish? Depended upon the catch of the day. In the cold waters of the San Francisco Bay, [Dungeness] crabs were plentiful and often included. Presumably, in Genoa this stew was made in the same fashion, with the local catch of the day.
"The only thing definate about cioppino is that no one knows for sure when it originated. In researching the recipe, I found a wide range of dates--from Gold Rush Days to the 1930s. Most food historians and cookbook authors don't even try to fix the recipe in time, although all point to San Francisco as the place of origin. It's true, certainly, that cioppino wasn't well known beyond the Bay area (or at least outside California) until after World War II. John Thorne...describes in the September/October 1996 issue of his newsletter, Simple Cooking , how he came upon a vintage (1921) cookbook that discusses cioppino in detail. That book, Fish Cookery , by Evelyn Spencer of the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and John N. Cobb, director of the College of Fisheries at the University of Washington, offers a recipe for cioppino that had appeared three years earlier by H.B. Nidever in California Fish and Game. Thorne believes that it may be one of the first, if not the first, ever published. He also points to...[a]... passage in Nidever's article, which suggests that cioppino originated in the fishing grounds off the coast of California, not San Francisco...Yet according to Coleman Andrews...there is a classic Genoese fisherman's soup called il ciuppin. Its name....is "simply a corruption of the Genoise word suppin, meaning little soup'....
"Cioppino. A fish stew cooked with tomatoes, wine, and spices, and associated at least since the 1930s with San Francisco, where it is still a specialty in many restaurants (1935). The word is Italian, from a Genoese dialect, ciuppin, for a fish stew, and the dish seems to have originated with the Italian immigrants of San Francisco, who often used the crabmeat available in the city's markets."
"The city's [San Francisco] third culinary specialty is an oceanic variation called cioppino, a fisherman's stew with ancestral links to French Mediterranean bouillabaisse and Italian Ligurian cacciusso. Here, though, the spicy dish has evolved into something as San Franciscan as rollercoaster hills, cable cars, and cool fog billowing through the Golden Gate. Specific recipes vary, from restaurant to restaurant, chef to chef. Nevertheless, an aromatic bowl of classic San Franciscan cioppino basically blends Dungeness crab, clams, and morsels of rockfish with shrimp or prawns, tidbits of squid, tomatoes, garlic, a "base sauce," and a splash of red wine."
"Bernsteins, until recently a Powell Street landmark, opened its doors for the first time soon after the  earthquake. From its inception the restaurant kept cioppino, the famous San Francisco fish stew, on the menu. Early in this century, more than one hundred and nine varieties of fish were taken from San Francisco Bay and sold commercially by the fishermen who hailed mainly from Genoa...A great treat rarely savored today is cioppino cooked on the small boats while at sea, with the catch prepared immediately after having been scooped from the cold waters. In that more leisurely era, this was a feast that was regularly enjoyed. Cioppino remains on the menus of most of the city's fine fish restaurants, and its variety of ingredients is infinite."
"Cioppino. This is one of California's most famous dishes, and one that we can claim is ours, all ours. It is a versatile dish, as it was invented by fishermen who made it with whatever the ocean was inclined to yield, so of course there are dozens of ideas on how it should be done. Exponents of the various schools of cookery get quite fussed--and fussy--about how to make cioppino. Red or white wine, or sherry? Shrimp and crab, clams, or just a mixture of fish? The best way is as you like it. This recipe is for a combination of fish, but it's basic enough to be used with lobster alone, or with crab, or with practically anything that comes from the sea.
Tarantino's Cioppino Recipe
Mario Batali's version of Cioppin
Fulton Fish Market Cioppino from Throwdown by Bobby Flay
Phil's Fish Market Cioppino
Owner, Phil DiGirolamo takes you inside his fish market and shows how he makes his famous cioppino.