Following a Christmas day food coma, this simple and easy weeknight recipe of Poached Cod with Tomatoes and Saffron was a delightful, light and delicious dinner last night.  It is precisely the type of meal you should make to start off a healthy and happy 2014.

For starters, the list of ingredients was short and sweet.  All I needed to pick up from the store was the cod.  Everything else I had on hand in my pantry, including a can of tomatoes, saffron, dried bay leaves, garlic, crushed red pepper and olive oil.

Also, keep in mind that I’ve received some constructive feedback as of late that I tend to feature recipes on this blog that have a wee bit too many ingredients.  Please know that I can’t help myself when the ingredient list rambles on and on.  Its a problem that I am working on.  Really I am. And this recipe is a start.  Even though I got the entire thing from the January Bon Appetit.

I also love the fact that this is so, so flavorful and healthy.  The combo just works.  You feel satisfied eating it, yet still light on your feet.  A nice contrast to how I, at least, have been feeling for the past week.

Two words about the preparation.  First, I let the tomato broth simmer for about 10 minutes, not just 5-7.  Second, my cod took almost 9-10 minutes before it was no longer a little clear in the middle because I had fairly thick pieces.  But I imagine that is completely fish dependent.  I did follow the instruction to only let it achieve barely a simmer while the cod poached and the fish melted in our mouths.

This is the type of meal I will be eating as I recite over and over again in my head, “I will not be fat at 40.  I will not be fat at 40.”  There is just something about seeing the big 4-0 on the horizon (just a year and a few weeks away) that makes you start to really care about what you put in your body.  You know that you’ve hopefully got years and years ahead, but if you are going to make those years productive and happy ones, you need to actually take care of your body — eat right, sleep right and exercise right.  I’m not saying there won’t be nights where I find myself dancing to Pitbull’s “Timber” and throwing back a vodka shot after having drunk a good many glasses of wine.  I hope I continue to be able to live young and fun on occasion (like I did last Saturday night).

So in these last few days of 2013, just remember everything in moderation.  That includes eating and enjoying healthy meals like this one and letting in a little raucousness for your soul as the year comes to end.  Happy New Years!

Poached Cod with Tomatoes and Saffron
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ½ crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 14.5-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 5-oz. skinless cod fillets
  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and Aleppo pepper and cook, stirring often, until fragrant (garlic should not take on any color), about 3 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you add them, wine, bay leaves, saffron, and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until flavors meld, 5–7 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
  3. 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).
  4. Gently transfer cod to shallow bowls and spoon poaching liquid over.


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