For the soup:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 leeks, white portion only, chopped and rinsed well
2 tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fresh bay leaf or 1/2 dried leaf
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 fennel stalk, 6 inches long
1 fresh or dried orange zest strip, 2 inches long and 1 inch wide
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup water
5 potatoes, about 1 1/2 lb. total, peeled and cut into slices 1/2 inch thick
1/4 tsp. saffron threads
2 lb. firm-fleshed fish steaks or fillets, such as monkfish, halibut or cod, cut into 1, 1/2-inch chunks
Boiling water, as needed
2 lb. tender-fleshed whole fish, such as
red snapper, ocean perch or rockfish, cleaned and left whole if small or cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks or filleted if large
1 lb. mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 slices coarse country bread, each 1 inch thick, toasted and rubbed with garlic
In a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and leeks and saut? until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, fennel, orange zest, salt and pepper. Stir well and add the wine, water and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the potatoes are nearly tender, about 25 minutes.
Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Stir in the saffron. Lay the firm-fleshed fish on top of the soup, pour over just enough boiling water to cover, and boil for about 7 minutes to half-cook the fish. Add the tender-fleshed fish and the mussels (discard any that do not close to the touch) adding more boiling water as needed to cover, and boil just until the tender-fleshed fish separates easily with a fork and the mussels open, 3 to 4 minutes.
Using a spatula, transfer the fish and shellfish to a warmed platter, placing the tender-fleshed fish on one part, the firm-fleshed on another. Discard any mussels that failed to open. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to the same plate. Ladle a few Tbs. of broth over them and garnish with the parsley. Stir 2 to 3 Tbs. of broth into the rouille. Ladle the remaining broth into a serving bowl.
Place a slice of bread in the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle on some broth. Pass the fish, potatoes and rouille for spooning into the bowls. Serves 8.
adapted from Williams Sonoma.