It's been rough times around the c&b household. I don't have a good track record with the month of January, and what do you know, January 2014 was the worst yet. I've been cooking, but relying on staples and quick fixes, and when I do make something potentially blog-worthy, I don't bother to photograph it.
This fish, though, is a reminder of a happier time, when I was making and photographing more meals than I could keep up with. I had intended on blogging this fancy-sounding remarkably easy cod dish nearly a month ago; then life drop-kicked me in the ass and I forgot all about it. Which is a bit of a travesty, since this is probably my favorite dinner I made in all of January. But better late than buried in my iPhoto archives forever, isn't that how the saying goes?
Start with some oil in a pan, add some garlic and Aleppo (or plain old red) pepper flakes, add tomatoes, wine, bay leaves, and a little saffron and let simmer a bit before using the tomato broth to gently poach the cod. That's pretty much it. It was easy and fast and I have to brag a little because I totally nailed the fish. It was perfectly cooked and I was just about waiting for accolades from the judges when I realized I wasn't on Chopped and the only people eating this were family members.
poached cod with tomato and saffron
adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2014
A note about spices here: yes, saffron is expensive, but those little jars last forever, and you can often get a deal at Indian markets. Aleppo pepper isn't on everyone's radar (yet), but I highly recommend it. It's fruity and complex and less hot than normal red pepper flakes, and you can pick it up in store or online from spice shops like Penzey's or Spice House.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes, or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves
pinch of saffron threads
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
4 4-5 ounce skinless cod fillets
Sprinkle the cod fillets with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add garlic and pepper flakes, and allow to cook gently for 2-3 minutes, or until garlic starts to brown.
Add the tomatoes, wine, bay leaves, saffron, and 1/2 cup water to the pan. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until the flavors meld (basically, until it tastes like a sauce not just ingredients). Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Place the cod in the skillet in the sauce. Reduce heat to low and cover; simmer gently until the cod is opaque throughout and just starting to flake. This will take about 5 to 7 minutes depending on the thickness of your cod. Mine were done in 5 minutes.
Transfer the cod to serving bowls and spoon the poaching liquid over the cod. Serve with rice or crusty bread for soaking up the sauce.