Just a few months ago, my husband came clean and admitted that he's not a huge fan of cooked salmon. Who knew?! All this time I've been cooking salmon because I myself love it. Well, being the great wife that I am, I decided to add more white fish dishes to our menus. Since the citrus season is in full effect, I'm pairing a refreshing blood orange relish with Peruvian-style saffron fish. Serve with basmati rice pilaf and you have yourself for an incredibly satisfying meal.
Peruvian-Style Saffron Fish
- ¼ teaspoon saffron
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup basmati rice
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
Peruvian-style saffron fish
- 3 tablespoons oil divided
- ½ onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup reserved saffron water
- ½ cup coconut cream
- 4 cod fillets
Blood orange relish
- 2 blood oranges peeled and chopped
- 1 small cucumber sliced
- ¼ cup chopped mint
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- Make basmati rice. Combine saffron with warm water in a medium bowl and let sit for 5 minutes or until water turns yellow.
- Melt butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and saute until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add rice and white wine and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until liquid is almost all evaporated, stirring occasionally. Add ¼ cup saffron water and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and keep warm.
- Prepare fish. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and saute until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and tomato paste, stirring to combine. Saute for 1-2 minutes or until tomato paste is caramelized. Add chicken broth and remaining ¼ cup saffron water and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer until reduced by half.
- Add coconut cream and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
- Season cod with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Lay fish in an even layer and pan-sear until golden brown on both sides and fish flakes easily. Transfer fish to sauce and brush sauce on top.
- Make orange relish. Combine orange chunks with sliced cucumber, mint, parsley, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sumac. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve Peruvian saffron fish with basmati rice and top fish with orange relish. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
This Peruvian-style saffron fish is loosely based on Peruvian chicken with the addition of saffron. Since the fish itself doesn't take long to cook, we're going to instead cook the fish and sauce separately.
Start by combining the saffron with water. Before you use saffron, you have to bloom it to extract all of that beautiful flavor. Saffron is a very expensive spice, but luckily, a little goes a long way. For this dish, we're going to incorporate saffron in both the fish and the rice pilaf.
Heat oil in a large saute pan and saute the onion until softened and translucent. Then, add the garlic and spices including cumin, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, and tomato paste. Continue to saute for another minute or until the tomato paste is caramelized. Don't worry if it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Next, add half of the saffron water with a few saffron threads and chicken broth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any caramelized tomato paste stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Continue to simmer the stock until it's reduced by half, really concentrating the flavors. Then, add coconut cream and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and keep it warm.
Meanwhile, cook the fish. I used cod fillets but you can use almost any other white fish including halibut, sea bass, sole, and haddock.
Since we're going to add the fish to the sauce, it just needs salt and pepper. Pan-fry the seafood until golden brown on both sides and the flesh flakes easily. Then, transfer the fish to the sauce, coating it to fully cover the fish.
Although the Peruvian-style saffron fish is great on its own, I decided to pair it with basmati rice pilaf. It's the perfect vessel to soak up any extra sauce.
Although the rice is optional, I highly recommend preparing the blood orange relish. It gives a refreshing quality to the dish and takes it to the next level.
All you have to do is peel and chop blood oranges and toss them with cucumber, fresh mint, parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sumac. If you can't find blood oranges, substitute them with regular oranges.
I don't recommend making the relish too far in advance because it can get soggy. You can make it 30 minutes before serving and it should be perfect.
Transfer the Peruvian-style saffron fish with all that delicious sauce to a serving platter. Top it blood orange relish or serve it on the side along with the basmati rice pilaf.
Don't you just love it when a dish is flavorful but still tastes light and healthy? This Peruvian-style saffron fish is exactly that. The sauce has tons of depth while the fish is flaky and tender and the orange relish adds brightness. Fortunately, the husband loves it too!
For more fish inspiration check out this Sicilian style fish stew recipe!