Braised food

Recipe for Braised Cod with Canned Tomatoes, Oranges and Olives

I am often asked if canned and fresh tomatoes can be used interchangeably in recipes. The answer: it depends. Canned tomatoes release more liquid during cooking and also contain liquid in the can. Sometimes this liquid is just what you want – other times a recipe is better with the brighter flavor (and drier texture) of fresh chopped tomatoes.

In the case of this Sicilian cod recipe, the combination of canned and fresh tomatoes is ideal – but in a pinch, you can definitely go with either. The results will be different, but either way, you’ll end up with an incredibly tasty meal.

Saffron gives a unique flavor and color to the dish, but it is very expensive. So expensive, in fact, that many stores keep it behind the counter and only release it on demand. If you don’t feel like splurging, use ½ teaspoon of turmeric instead. Turmeric provides great color and health benefits.

The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to three days or frozen. With this at hand, you have an almost instant and exuberant and flavorful dinner.

Sicilian cod with tomato, saffron, olives and orange

Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your heat tolerance.

4 tablespoons of olive oil

3 minced garlic cloves

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon of sugar

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed

1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise

1 teaspoon grated fresh orange zest

1 tsp salt, divided

1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided

4 (6 to 8 ounces) cod fillets

Coarsely chopped parsley for garnish

1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, oregano and chili flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic begins to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, sugar and saffron; cook, until sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally, 22-25 minutes. Stir in olives, zest, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper; continue cooking.

2. Season the cod with the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Nestle the fish in the sauce in the skillet in a single layer. Cover and cook until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 10-12 minutes. Serve with a little sauce on the fish.

Makes 4 servings