1 tablespoon Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur (optional)
8 cups cubed (1/2-in.) pumpkin, such as Sugar Pie or Baby Bear (see notes)
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) crushed or diced tomatoes
1 pound halibut, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Rouille (recipe follows)
How to Make It
Trim off and discard stalks, root ends, and bruised areas from fennel. Chop and reserve green tops. Rinse heads; cut in half lengthwise, then slice.
Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat; add fennel, onion, and garlic and stir often until soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Add wine; cook until most of liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add broth, clam juice, Pernod (if using), pumpkin, saffron, bay leaf, salt, and pepper; increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer just until pumpkin is tender when pierced, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Gently stir in fish; simmer until opaque in center (cut to test), 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in parsley. Ladle into bowls and top with 1 tablespoon rouille and fennel tops.
Rouille: In a bowl, stir together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1/2 cup.
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