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Cod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce

Cod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit Penso

When I saw this fresh wild Cod at the store, I knew it would benefit from quick steaming. Yet, I also knew its’ mild taste would benefit from a somewhat assertive flavoring.
As I’ve just bought a new tin of wonderful Spanish saffron, I’ve decided to go with a Mediterranean inspired sauce and combine it with tomatoes.
Soon, capers, anchovies, almonds, cooked chickpea, raisins, lemons and honey showed up on the working table; the sauce pretty much created itself and a wonderful aroma filled the kitchen…

As the fresh tomatoes available were far from acceptable, I’ve used good quality crushed canned tomatoes instead. However, if you find ripe and flavorful tomatoes, use them without hesitation.
With the chickpeas, I’ve used ones I’ve pre-cooked, but good quality canned chickpeas (preferably unsalted) would work just as well, and will shorten the preparation time.

The dish is great for entertaining, as the fish requires only 10 minutes of cooking, while the sauce can be made ahead and reheated. It can be served as a first course, using smaller portions of fish with the sauce only, or as a main course, with larger portions of fish served on a bed of saffron couscous, rice or polenta.

The Cod can be substituted with other flat fish, shrimps or scallops. The sauce is also great on its’ own, served with couscous, pasta or polenta.

Makes: 4-6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes for the sauce, 10 minutes for the fish
Ingredients:
1 lb (450 grams) skinless and boneless fresh Cod fillet
1 tsp saffron threads
1 Tbs hot water
1 large shallot, chopped
¼ cup olive oil + 1 Tbs
5 anchovy fillets
¼ cup capers, roughly chopped
2 cups crushed tomatoes, with tomato paste
1 cup water
Zest and juice from 1 large lemon
1 cup cooked chickpeas
½ cup golden raisins
1/3 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
1-2 Tbs honey, preferably orange blossom
1-2 tsp salt
Serving option: couscous (see HERE how to prepare)

1. Portion the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Mix the saffron threads with the hot water and let sit for 5 minutes.
Cod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit PensoCod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit PensoCod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit PensoCod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit Penso
2. In a wide pot, sauté the shallot with ¼ cup olive oil. Add the anchovies, mash roughly with a spatula and cook for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and water and mix well.
Cod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit PensoCod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit Penso
3. Add the lemon juice, 2/3 of the lemon zest, the chickpeas, the raisins, 2/3 of the almonds, the pepper and cayenne. Mix well , bring to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, mixing occasionally, until the sauce reduces and thickens a bit.
Cod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit PensoCod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit Penso Cod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit PensoCod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit Penso
4. Taste and add salt and honey according to the saltiness and acidity of the sauce. (The anchovies, capers and tomato paste vary in their levels of saltiness and acidity from one brand to another, so it’s best to cook the sauce before deciding how much to add.) Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add the fish pieces, in one layer and not touching one another. Sprinkle the fish with salt, black pepper and the remaining lemon zest, and drizzle the 1 Tbs olive oil over it.
6. Bring the sauce to a boil and cover the pot. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 8 minutes, until the fish is white and opaque.
Cod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit PensoCod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit Penso
7. For an appetizer, serve with sauce only. For main course, serve with saffron couscous.Sprinkle the rest of the almonds on top.
Cod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit PensoCod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit PensoCod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce Ronit Penso

 

23 thoughts on “Cod with Tomato-Saffron Sauce

  1. Nancy says:

    This sounds really good…but it’s your beautiful photos that make it look delicious! Love the color the saffron provides. Thanks for another must try dish!

    Like

    • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso says:

      Thank you Nancy!
      I’m the first to admit I usually don’t have a clue about what I’m doing when photographing, and usually don’t have the time to dwell on it – serving the food is the first priority after all! :) So I’m really glad you think the photos are good and helpful. It just encourages me to try even harder. :)

      Like

  2. ChgoJohn says:

    I love cod in a tomato sauce and yours here, Ronit, is one flavorful sauce! This would make such a wonderful meal and, yes, bread is a must. I see you, too, have a problem getting good tomatoes this time of year. By the time March rolls, around, I am desperate for just one good, flavorful tomato. On the other hand, it means that I will relish every bite of the season’s first BLT.

    Like

    • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso says:

      Thank you, John!
      I like Cod too, and was happy with how the complex flavors and textures of the sauce married so well with its freshness.
      Good tomatoes are hard to find here as well. Which is why I use cherry tomatoes more often now, but they are not the best for such a sauce.
      You are so right – once we’ll have the good ones, we’ll appreciate them so much more! :)

      Like

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