I fell in love with this dish when I first saw it published in Bon Appetit a couple years ago. In fact, I found the photo of the dish so striking that I cut it from the magazine and pinned it to the bulletin board in my kitchen, along with a handful of other drool-worthy food shots to act as a small art installation decorating the space while my home was staged for sale. For the LONG 2 + years it took me to sell the house I looked longingly at the shot of this dish everyday, but for some damned reason never got around to cooking it until a few weeks ago. Such a shame, because this dish is so flavorful, and SO easy that I’m sure it’ll become a regular in my dinner rotation.
I love cooking fish this way, especially delicate fish like cod that tends to flake and fall apart if not handled with care. The gentle poaching not only ensures the fish stays moist and tender, but also infuses the cooking liquid with tremendous flavor. I’m generally not a huge proponent of saffron, but here it adds a lovely complexity to the broth and plays very nicely with the Aleppo. I tossed in a few left-over spears of asparagus to warm through late in cooking for truly satisfying, but light, one-pot meal. Make sure you have a crusty, artisanal loaf on hand to sop up all the broth left in your bowl when the fish is gone, it’s too good to waste.
Cheers – Steve
Poached Cod with Tomato and Saffron
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp Aleppo pepper, or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 14.5-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- pinch saffron threads
- 4 5-ounce skinless cod fillets
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and Aleppo pepper and cook, stirring often, until fragrant (garlic should not take on any color), about 3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you add them, wine, bay leaves, saffron, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until flavors meld, 5–7 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
- Reduce heat to medium-low; season cod with salt and pepper and place in skillet. Cover and cook at a bare simmer until cod is opaque throughout and beginning to flake, 5–7 minutes (thicker pieces will take longer to cook).
- Gently transfer cod to shallow bowls and spoon poaching liquid over.