Poached saffron cod with burst tomatoes and white beans

This cod poached in saffron broth is crazy delicious!  It's light but full of flavor, tasting like a fish stew you'd order at a restaurant and can't believe you actually made yourself at home (that's my reaction, anyway)!  It's not hard to make and you get a big reward for your effort.  If you want to cook more fish at home, this is one to try.  It tastes better than it looks.
I'm feeling pretty productive these days...at the beginning of the year, I started getting a little more organized.  Nothing fancy - I got a dedicated notebook and started jotting down my meal plan for each week.  I love making lists (and checking them off) so it was no real burden but as it turns out, the simple act of sitting down for a few minutes, sketching out meal plans, noting recipes I wanted to try out and actually putting them on the schedule, made them happen!!  So many of those recipes ripped out of magazine pages and stuffed into a folder, or pinned/bookmarked for cooking/baking at "some point" have actually been happening.  I'm amazed when I look at my "recipes I'd like to make" pin board and see that I've actually made a good number of them.

This recipe is an example of that.  I saw it in the May 2014 issue of Rachael Ray magazine - that's this May, practically real time!  Normally, there'd be something like a 2-year lag time between seeing a recipe and trying it out (if I get to it at all) so I essentially made this dish two whole years early thanks to a little planning and organization!  ; )  
I took a few liberties with the recipe.  I skipped the gremolata topping but added an anchovy in the poaching broth to boost the flavor (I love how an anchovy or two does that so well).  The all-important poaching broth is also made up of chicken stock, white wine, onions, garlic, and saffron, which needs no introduction and is essential to this dish.  All of that, with the tomatoes, makes for an incredibly flavorful base for the fish to infuse in (and add even more flavor to).  It's savory and full of the flavors of the sea.

The original recipe doesn't include beans but I decided to add some cannellini beans to bulk it up.  I made a little extra broth and my husband took advantage of some leftover brown rice to sop it all up. I just made use of my spoon because you really shouldn't waste any of that aromatic, flavorful broth. Some crusty bread would be great to have nearby.  And finally, to let you know how do-able this is, I have to tell you...I used frozen cod fillets (thanks, Trader Joe's!) and it worked beautifully.  Now that's convenience!  

In the magazine, this dish is called "Sicilian-Style Saffron Cod with Burst Tomatoes"; you can see the original recipe here if you'd like to compare it with the changes I made and see what you'd like to do yourself.
It may have been my love of Tuscan food (which I think of as simple and rustic yet delicious) that made me add the cannellini beans.  But truly, I'm a big fan of any and all Italian food and I'm certainly a big fan of this particular Sicilian fish dish right here!

I have cod at the ready in my freezer for the next time I get a craving for this.  Needless to say, fresh fillets would be even better but it's great to know there are options, and for me, convenience is really important.


Recipe:

Poached Saffron Cod with Burst Tomatoes and White Beans
Adapted from Rachael Ray (recipe appeared in May 2014 issue of Rachael Ray Magazine)

- Serves 4 - 
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
Generous pinch of saffron threads
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 anchovy filet
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 fresh bay leaf (or 2 dry bay leaves)
Salt and pepper (optional: red pepper flakes)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes 
Generous 1/2 cup dry white wine
4 pieces (about 6 oz. each) skinless cod or black bass fillets 
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Chopped parsley, to garnish

Place chicken stock in a small saucepan and add the saffron threads.  Let steep over medium-low heat while you work on the next steps.

In a large skillet or pan with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high.  Add anchovy filet and break it up with a wooden spoon, letting it meld into the oil.  Add onion, garlic, and bay leaf.  Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (if using).  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 minutes until onions begin to soften.  Add tomatoes.  Cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until tomatoes burst, about 10 minutes.  If there are any remaining tomatoes that have not burst, break them with a wooden spoon.  Stir in wine and the saffron stock.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Season fish with some salt and pepper.  Add to the pan.  Scatter the cannellini beans around the pan.  Cover and poach until fish is cooked through, approximately 6-7 minutes.  

Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.  Remove bay leaf.  Plate onto serving bowls and garnish with parsley.  Serve immediately.












56 comments:

  1. That DOES look crazy delicious! :) Love the burst tomatoes, I've never tried that but I'll have to test it out with some fresh tomatoes sometime this summer. :)

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    1. Appreciate it - hope you try it one day.

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  2. It takes me FOREVER to make recipes I bookmark also! Meal planning helps and honestly, I couldn't live without my list of what to make for the week! This is such a fun recipe. I love how it almost turns into a stew in the end!

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    1. I hear you. Making the list is a great "reminder" and it's been helping me a lot. This dish was really tasty.

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  3. Cod in saffron broth...this sounds and looks incredible!

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    1. Tastes really great for not too much effort. Thanks, Angie.

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  4. I have to try this...I have cod swimming right next to my door steps. And it's Italian...

    ela h.
    Gray Apron

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    1. Wow! I hope you make it...makes a great light but flavorful meal.

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  5. This recipe looks so refreshing and delicious! I don't usually cook with saffron since it's SO expensive, but you're really tempting me. ;)

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    1. I hear you. I try to save my saffron but it's so worth it if you're using it in a broth that you'll literally be drinking up. Thanks, Jenny.

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  6. Hi Monica, this dish looks amazing, love the combination! it looks so healthy and sounds like it has a ton of flavor. I could use a few more recipes like this in my week-night meals.

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    1. Exactly - healthy and really flavorful. Thanks, Cheri.

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  7. I think it looks and sounds amazing - so pretty and delicious. I love it! I've never cooked with saffron but have always wanted to try. The flavor must be great - thank you Monica!

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    1. Hi Tricia - to me, saffron magically gives things (particularly, broth) this slow-cooked, amazing depth of flavor. It is worth every penny and a little goes a really long way so it's not bad at all. You'd love it!

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  8. Yay, that's awesome that you've been so productive latel, it's such a great feeling to be able check dishes off that you want to make :) Hehe I've been falling off that organization wagon and need to jump back on especially after seeing this amazing dish. I love fish dishes like this - it looks and sounds incredible! I can just imagine the light and refreshing flavors from the broth, saffron, basil, tomatoes and wine infused in the cod - my mouth is watering just thinking about this and I seriously can't wait to try it :)

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    1. Kelly - you have been more than productive, believe me! Oh my goodness! : ) The flavors here were amazing when I had it done and tasted it. I just love it.

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  9. Mm I love saffon in recipes! It adds such a gorgeous flavour not to mention colour :D

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    1. The color is definitely a perk. Thanks, Lorraine.

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  10. I love your notebook idea of getting organized. I really need to get better at meal planning now that I have a long commute and I think you're right about it making you try out all those recipes you've been wanting to try! I think my husband would LOVE this dish...he's always asking me to make more fish.

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    1. I'm still writing and scratching out my ideas and been doing it since the beg. of the year. It's kind of fun. Thanks, Amy!

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  11. I love how light this dish is, yet very flavorful with saffron! I usually grill/fry/bake fish but not in soup. This is a new dish I would love my family to try!

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    1. I bake salmon all the time...that's our go-to. I want to branch out further too and this is a very easy way. Thanks!

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  12. I think this looks amazing! I made a dish similar to this (and I didn't think mine was very pretty either), but the taste was amazing, and I've never forgotten that dish. I love the addition of the beans - I think tomatoes and beans are awesome together, and when coupled with healthy fish...you have a winner!

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    1. The flavors were much more intense than I expected. I love white beans with everything! Thanks, Kristi!

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  13. That looks yummy and the pictures are great!

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  14. I use frozen cod all the time. I think it's better quality than the fresh I can get here, and by fresh I mean previously frozen....yuck. This looks fantastic, so fresh and light. I too like the addition of the beans. And like your hubby, I would have some rice on the side :)

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    1. I never hesitate to take advantage of any short-cuts or frozen items if it works well! Some "fresh" fish can be pretty sub-par around me so the frozen was handy and it tasted great. The beans totally helped fill me up and rice with broth is a no-brainer, I agree. :)

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  15. I'm sold with such robust, rich poaching broth, and with your clever ideas of adding the beans and rice (perfect couple : ))!

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    1. Awww...thank you! Rich poaching broth is a great description. It's rich yet light.

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  16. Kudos on making the recipe so soon; sometimes it takes me a good year! It looks so good and it might not be the star of the dish but the burst tomatoes totally got me! Loved that idea!

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    1. Thanks, Jessica. I can barely believe my productive self. haha! I love grape tomatoes and they cook up in a flash...and I really like pairing them with some white beans and then plopping a fried egg on top!

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  17. I think the fish dish does look good. Living in New England, fresh cod is always available at our fish market and this sounds like a light summer meal in the making.

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    1. Oh, one of the many benefits to living in beautiful New England! I can get actual fresh fish from our farmer's market on Sundays...need to plan around that one day. Thanks, Karen.

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  18. What a GORGEOUS meal, Monica! I love all the beautiful colors, and the flavors sound amazing!

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    1. Thanks, Marie. It was a great change for dinner.

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  19. That fish looks AMAZING! I could eat some right now!

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  20. I love cherry tomatoes, especially when they are cooked! I've been thinking that I need to start eating more fish lately and this looks like the perfect way to eat more! It is a beautiful meal!

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    1. Same here - love cherry and grape tomatoes. I always want to cook and eat more fish but don't always have luck with it. This one is a winner.

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  21. What a great looking meal. Totally looks like it was plated at a fancy restaurant... you did such a amazing job! YUMMY... love those tomatoes! :)

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    1. Thank you, Pamela. Everything comes together really well and makes a good meal. :)

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  22. WOW!!!!! This looks AWESOMEEEEEEE!!!!! I'm loving that cod and the stew must taste SOOOO GOOOOOD!!!! This is like one of the dishes I'd want to just sit and enjoy peacefully after a REALLLLY tiring day!!!! Recipes from tv shows and magazines take an era to be made in my home too! My mum often religiously writes down recipes in a diary when watching TLC and then it just sits there on the shelf gathering dust! haha!!

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    1. Glad you like it, Samina. : ) The broth is incredible and you have that flaky fish.
      You made me laugh about your mum. I can totally relate. : )

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  23. This does look summery delicious! I love the combination with beans and tomatoes!

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    1. Beans bulk everything up and I'm a big fan. Thanks!

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  24. Ryan and I were just talking about how we wanted to cook more with saffron. This looks just incredible, Monica!

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    1. I feel like you could enhance almost any dish with saffron - too bad it's so pricey! I do highly recommend using some saffron for this. : )

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  25. This looks like a very homey, comforting dish! So far I've only used saffron for making paella. What a great recipe, thanks for sharing this :).

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  26. this is definitely a gourmet type of dish! excellent job! love it!

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    1. Thanks - it's easy enough that even I can do it with success!

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  27. Such a delicious, nutritious meal Monica. The type of meals that I am enjoying at the moment too!! Envious of your productive 'list' methodology!! :-)

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    1. Glad you are taking time to enjoy some tasty, healthy meals even with the busy schedule! I'm not *that* productive...it's all relative...haha.

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  28. Saffron bring this dish to a whole new level. I love cozy dishes like this all year around and with seafood so fresh with the Aberdeen fish market just a few bus stops away for me , I think this will be my next meal. Now granted, I will not be able to find fresh cod in Hong Kong but I am sure I can find a light white fish that would be good too. Have a super week. Take care, BAM

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    1. There are certainly plenty of super fresh fish around you! I'm sure it would be enjoyable with any mild white fish. Thank you, BAM!

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