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Marinated Fish

Other time 2 hrs, 15 mins
Use at least 4 types of fish for the best flavor and texture. 


  • 1 fennel bulb with stalks and fronds
  • 1 pound Pacific halibut fillets, cut into 1-in. chunks
  • 1/2 pound each of 4 Pacific fish fillets* such as petrale sole, Pacific cod, sablefish, and rockfish, in whole pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron (threads or powder)
  • 2 tablespoons pastis or Pernod
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

How to Make It

  1. Slice fennel bulb thinly and lay on a platter along with its stalks and fronds. Lay fish on top in a single layer and sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Turn several times to coat. Let stand at room temperature, lightly covered, 2 hours (chill if longer than 2 hours, and use within 4 hours).

  2. Make fish stock, rouille, and toasts while fish marinates.

  3. *For more on these fish, including their other names, see "Buying Guide" (below).

  4. Buying Guide

  5. When choosing your seafood, try to vary the textures and flavors. Some should be firm, others soft; some mild, others briny. Find them at a good seafood shop or your farmers' market.

  6. Alaskan snow crab legs: Very firm, lobsterlike texture; sweet and mild. Usually only available cooked.

  7. California mussels: Briny flavor; soft, melting texture with a bit of chew.

  8. California squid (calamari): Firm but tender; sweet yet meaty. It's neither fish nor shellfish, really, but it gives great texture and flavor to the soup.

  9. Dungeness crab: Flaky; sweet and moist.

  10. Pacific cod (true cod, gray cod): Delicate; mild flavor.

  11. Pacific halibut: Firm, with mild flavor.

  12. Petrale sole: Delicate texture; mild, sweet flavor.

  13. Rockfish (black bass, sea bass, black snapper): Medium-firm; clean sea flavor.

  14. Sablefish (black cod): Silky, medium-firm; rich, buttery flavor.

  15. Spiny lobsters: Succulent and firm. Can use, cooked, instead of crab. Available from fall to spring.

  16. Spot prawns: Incredibly sweet taste and tender-crisp; keep head and tail on for the most flavor. Can be hard to find.