Photograph by Marcus Nilsson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Saffron-Braised Cod

Mains from Issue 6 – Fall / Winter 2015 – Magic

Extracted from the vermilion stigmas of the crocus flower, saffron’s precious, wispy threads have been used for ritual purposes since antiquity—some believed drinking an infusion would help you peer into the future. To us, they are the ultimate magic wand: one touch and, poof, they will thrillingly shift a dish’s aroma and hue.

serves 6

  • generous pinch saffron threads
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 oz dried, cured chorizo, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 1 (14 oz) can whole tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
  • 1 (14 oz) can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 ¼ lb cod or hake fillet

  • 1

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub saffron threads into ½ tsp kosher salt until finely broken, and set aside.

  • 2

    Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until softened, about 7 minutes. Add chorizo and garlic and cook, stirring until oil is released from chorizo, about 3 minutes. Stir in fennel and cook
    4 minutes. Add tomatoes along with their juices, beans, water, and pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Transfer to the oven and bake, covered, until fennel is almost tender, about 25 minutes.

  • 3

    Once vegetables go in the oven, gently rub top of fish with saffron salt and keep chilled, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to use.

  • 4

    When ready, give vegetables a stir, season fish with a little black pepper, then nestle into skillet and bake, covered, until fish is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.