The site has recognition for good answers based on upvotes. People decide to view the question based on the question's relevance to them, and then vote based largely on how useful they find the answer. So an answer needs to be reasonably good to get an upvote but the potential upvotes is governed mainly by the popularity of the question.
I have come across a few exceptional answers to questions that were good questions but did not have wide appeal. The answers were not just well written and well organized, they were exemplary in authoritativeness, clarity and breadth of the answer, and showed a significant investment of time to polish the answer.
Unfortunately, they were answers to questions that few people were interested in, so there was little opportunity for recognition through upvotes. It would be nice to have some provision for recognizing answers that are exceptional in quality independent of the question they are attached to.
Edit: As one possible type of mechanism, I could envision something like any user (or user above some rep), being able to nominate an answer. Maybe monthly have some form of community "vote"/poll ("vote" for any/all of those answers you think are exceptional). By votes, I don't mean upvotes, although people could decide to upvote an answer after seeing it. I'm referring to poll votes. All answers getting more than X "votes" gets a quality badge.
Edit: I've been educated. I had missed the feature of using bounties to reward good answers. That's a good solution for people with lots of rep who can afford to do this. For everyone else, maybe the solution is a "charitable foundation", where others can point out worthy answers and hit up the high-rep members for bounty handouts. :-)