When I’m not eating food, I’m cooking food, reading about food, or thinking about food. I do get a reprieve when I sleep, and half of my showers are free of my obsession, but other than that it’s about food. So, yeah, I like it.
Of the dozens of food publications, journals, books, and blogs I read I have one magazine that I absolutely can’t do without. That’s Bon Appetit.
If you don’t currently subscribe, I urge you to. The BA staff is incredibly knowledgeable, passionate, humble, and downright cool. I was fortunate enough to meet with a few of them and was a bit surprised at how modern and down-to-earth they were. In fact, one of my old culinary school friends works for Bon App and is doing some really exciting and fun things. This magazine is hip, intimate, and awesome.
You will find more than a few recipes of mine that were adapted from a recipe I first came across on those pages. This is one such recipe, and because it’s so simple and there are so few ingredients, I barely touched it. Happily, and no surprise to me, I didn’t need to.
What’s not to like? Super healthy, incredibly flavorful, and so, so simple. This is an easy dish to throw together any night of the week but special enough for a small dinner party. Anything with saffron is automatically sexy, and this is no exception. Saffron is not cheap, but you only need a small amount in most dishes where it is called for and I find it’s a great thing to invest in. I happened to pick some up when I was in Morocco last spring, so I’m always happy to put it to good use. The only caution I want to provide here is this: Cook the fish at a lazy, slow simmer. This makes all the difference in achieving the silky, flaky interior we are after.
You could easily substitute halibut, flounder, salmon or black bass. Serve this over couscous, quinoa, or wild rice for a meal that comes together in no time.
So gather these few ingredients, make this dish, and then subscribe to Bon Appetit. You won’t be sorry.
Poached Cod with Tomato, Saffron, and Chile
Bon Appetit – January 2014
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 14.5 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
¼ cup dry white wine, or water
2 bay leaves
Pinch of saffron threads
4 5-oz. skinless cod fillets
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and Aleppo or red pepper flakes 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 if using, bay leaves, saffron, and ½ cup water (if not using wine, add 1 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.
**My Two Cents: Even if you’re gentle when transferring the cod, it may break apart on you. Not to worry, this is an easy going dish and will taste just as good.
** If you don’t have saffron and don’t want to buy it, simply omit it. It will still be a flavorful dish.
**My Two Cents: I use anchovy paste here as I always have a tube of it in the fridge. It adds a salty, briney punch to everything from salad dressings to fresh herb sauces.
** If you prefer kalamata olives, feel free to swap them in for the green.
** Fresh parsley can be substituted for the basil, and while it will steer this away from its Sicilian roots a bit, it will do the trick to brighten it up.