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Poached Cod with Tomato and Saffron from Bon Appetit

Poached Cod with Tomato and Saffron from Bon Appetit
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Eric Rippert

Recently, Andrew and I went to hear Eric Rippert, Fish Chef Extraordinaire  and proprietor of the perennially four-starred Le Bernardin restaurant in New York.  Chef Rippert appeared at a food forum at the YMHA hosted by Adam Gopnick of The New Yorker magazine.   During the question and answer period, the chef was asked what fish he was currently enamored with.   He immediately answered Halibut and since I’d just appropriated a recipe for Halibut from Bon Appetit, off I went to shop from dinner.    When I got to the fishmonger, I was staggered to discover that Halibut was $29.99 a lb.  Now I love Chef Rippert but my love has boundaries and $29.99 a lb. for anything is one of them.  But right next to the Halibut was a beautiful white filet of Atlantic cod from Canada.  The cod came in at $10.99 a lb.  And since I also had a Cod recipe from the same Bon Appetit, I immediately shifted gears.  Since I was making only two portions of the recipe for Poached Cod with Tomato and Saffron, the 10 oz. of fish cost all of $6.85.   The whole meal would have been a spectacular bargain were it not for the Saffron, which even at Trader Joe’s prices, came in at $5.99 for a .020 oz. of the stuff.  Still, the meal was relatively inexpensive, incredibly fast to prepare and absolutely delicious.

         Eating more seafood makes infinite good sense.  Did you know that cod is one of the healthiest things on earth to eat?  In fact eating it weekly can reduce heart attack risk by 37 percent.  It is also one of the fastest ways to get dinner on the table.  Add up the times for this recipe and at the outside, you can be out of the kitchen in 25 minutes.  My favorite piece of advice from Bon Appetit is the following: “ You want to cook the cod at a lazy simmer; it will make all the difference between buttery, flaky fish and rubbery, tough fillets.” And just how long is that “lazy simmer”?  5 to 7 minutes.   Do try this dish.  There’s a lively heat to the tomato sauce that complements the flaky white fish flawlessly.   As to the saffron, I wish my palate were more sensitive to what it brings to the dish.  But since I used it and loved the results, I can’t say how it would taste without it.  But I do know it would save you at least $5.99 if you left it out. Here is the recipe:

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