Poached Cod with Saffron + Tomato

It has been a beautiful breezy  spring turning to summer here in Northern Virginia. While there have been some warm days, it’s been nothing like the oppressive heat we experienced when we first moved here.

There have been plenty of evenings for sitting in the Adirondack chairs on our back deck and sipping wine or peach tea, plenty of hikes that don’t end in us melting, and some cozy mornings with the windows open, bundled in our blankets and enjoying temperatures in the 60s.

In other words, heaven.

But still, we want to enjoy the summer and not wish it away. Life is too short and we’ve all had enough hard times to know you want to soak in the good when it’s here.

For us, that means plenty of time playing with our small human, working outside, walks to the playground, gardening, sipping that wine and peach tea on the back deck, appreciating the jobs that keep us busy and usually inside in the air conditioning {air conditioning is such an amazing luxury!} during the heat of the day, and hot food with a hint of spice, like this poached cod dish we love.

Poaching is a great way to prepare your fish. For one, it infuses the fish with the delicious, rich flavor of the broth and spices you use. For another, it makes it buttery soft.

And perhaps the best reason? It cooks really quickly and looks awesome to boot, so it’s basically the fastest gourmet dish ever.

You can make this on a weeknight for last minute guests and really impress them without going to a ton of work. All you need is some broth, garlic, tomatoes, spices, cod, and, you guessed it, wine.

But let’s talk about the saffron for a quick minute.

Image via Rumi Spice

Saffron is an absolutely amazing spice. It comes in threads and while it has a strong honey smell, it adds a uniquely intense mixture of honey and bitterness to a dish. Saffron goes best with light meat and veggies, although it does really well in desserts where vanilla bean is a standout.

It’s expensive, but that’s because the saffron threads we’re going to use in this dish are pulled by hand and dried from the saffron crocus, and there are only three per flower typically. It takes 75,000 blossoms to make a single pound of saffron. It’s imported mainly from Spain and Kashmir, but we get ours from a surprising location: Afghanistan.

We buy our saffron from Rumi Spice. Rumi Spice was established by a group of military veterans and lawyers working on rural development in Afghanistan as a way to connect the agriculture industry in Afghanistan to the global market.

Not only is their business thriving these days, but they’re expanding and bringing in a lot of money and resources to help increase both regional prosperity and sustainable farming initiatives in Afghanistan. It’s a cause we believe in – and it’s a great product.

And it’s amazing in this poached cod dish.

Poached Cod with Tomatoes and Saffron

Serves 2.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper {also called Halaby pepper}
  • 1 cup fresh Roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • pinch salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 skinless cod fillets

How to Make It:

The key to this recipe is the simmer. It’s all about the low and slow, and getting the fish out of there when it’s opaque and just beginning to flake. Any longer, and it gets rubbery.

1. Start by heating the oil in your skillet or wide pot over medium heat. Toss in the sliced garlic and Aleppo pepper and cook about 3 minutes, until the mixture is fragrant.

2. Crush the tomatoes and add them to the skillet, sautéing until they’re softened {2 more minutes}.

3. Add the wine, saffron, broth, and water, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5-7 minutes until the mixture takes on a distinct yellow tinge {the saffron is doing its job then}. Sprinkle in the pinches of salt and black pepper.

4. Season the cod with salt and pepper and place it in the skillet. Cover and reduce heat, cooking at a very low simmer. When the cod is opaque, test for doneness with a fork. When it flakes, remove gently and place into a shallow bowl. Serve with some of the poaching liquid and poached tomatoes, and if you want a larger burst of flavor, some sautéed garlic.

Flaky, flavorful, and perfect for a warm summer evening!

What are your favorite spicy summer dishes?

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