Pair with Estate Chardonnay
"In my early days as Ridge’s winemaker and board member, I suggested to the founders that we should start a tradition of taking ourselves to the admired Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley for an annual directors’ dinner. Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters later published some of these Ridge dinners in a book of her favorite menus. In celebration of Ridge’s 60th Anniversary, we are revisiting dishes from these storied Chez Panisse dinners for this year’s Holiday Pairing Feast." -Paul Draper, Chairman of the Board
To prepare the fish, select a piece of salt cod that is firm, white, and fresh-smelling, and soak it for 2 or 3 days, refrigerated. Change the water several times during the soaking. When it has soaked, clean it thoroughly, removing any skin, bones, and dark spots. Cut it into even, medallion-shaped pieces and set aside. Fillet the rockfish (reserve the trimmings for the fumet) and cut the fillets into pieces similar in thickness and size to the salt cod. Set the pieces aside.
To make the fumet, clean the scraps of the fish well, removing the gills and any bloody parts. Slice the leeks, onions, carrot, celery, and shallots. Dice the tomatoes. Sauté the fish frames gently in 4 tablespoons olive oil in a stockpot for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Add the bouquet garni, a pinch of saffron, a strip of orange peel with no white pith, and 2 tablespoons Pernod. Add water to cover the fish and vegetables by a few inches. Bring the fumet to a boil, skim, and reduce the heat. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Strain the fumet and reduce it slightly if a more concentrated flavor is needed.
Before cooking the bouillabaisse, taste the salt cod for saltiness. If it is very salty, blanch the pieces in plain water for 1 to 2 minutes and drain.
Dice 2 onions and slice a clove of garlic thin. Peel, seed, and dice 2 tomatoes. Peel 1 pound of potatoes, slice them thin, and blanch them for 1 minute in plain water.
Soften the onions in 4 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic, a pinch of saffron, a bay leaf, the orange peel, and the salt cod pieces. Add the tomatoes and cook gently for 1 minute. Add the fumet (about 3 quarts), about 1 tablespoon Pernod, and about 1/3 cup white wine. Bring to a simmer, add the potatoes and minced herbs, and about 1 tablespoon orange juice. Simmer 2 or 3 minutes, then add the rockfish fillets, which have been seasoned with black pepper. When the fish is just cooked, remove it to serving bowls. Taste the broth and correct the seasoning.
Prepare the garnishes while the fumet is simmering. To make the aioli: using a mortar, pound several cloves of garlic into a paste. Add olive oil very slowly while constantly stirring and mashing the paste to emulsify the mixture. To serve the bouillabaisse, ladle the broth over the fish and garnish each serving with a little minced thyme, parsley and three or four garlic croutons. Put about 1 tablespoon of aioli in each dish and serve the rest separately.
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