More From Sunset
2 Hours, 15 Minutes
- 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
- 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.
- *For more on these fish, including their other names, see "Buying Guide" (below).
- Buying Guide
- 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.
- Alaskan snow crab legs: Very firm, lobsterlike texture; sweet and mild. Usually only available cooked.
- California mussels: Briny flavor; soft, melting texture with a bit of chew.
- 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.
- Dungeness crab: Flaky; sweet and moist.
- Pacific cod (true cod, gray cod): Delicate; mild flavor.
- Pacific halibut: Firm, with mild flavor.
- Petrale sole: Delicate texture; mild, sweet flavor.
- Rockfish (black bass, sea bass, black snapper): Medium-firm; clean sea flavor.
- Sablefish (black cod): Silky, medium-firm; rich, buttery flavor.
- Spiny lobsters: Succulent and firm. Can use, cooked, instead of crab. Available from fall to spring.
- Spot prawns: Incredibly sweet taste and tender-crisp; keep head and tail on for the most flavor. Can be hard to find.
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