This rich seafood stew was first cooked by Italian fishermen in San Francisco as a way to use up odds and ends left over from the day's catch.
A Seafood Sampler
Cioppino begins with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, onions and white wine. Crab is usually the main ingredient, but it almost always contains other kinds of fish and shellfish, such as shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops, squid, crab, lobster, and pieces of halibut or monkfish. Not surprisingly, there are as many "original" recipes for cioppino as there are people who love it.
Cioppino is a hearty meal that's almost impossible to eat daintily--so roll up your sleeves, pile napkins on the table and slice a loaf of sourdough bread to sop up the broth.
To make your own sourdough starter, see "Yeast: The Basics."