Black cod over tomato-saffron risotto

Black cod is my new favorite fish – it is very delicate, flaky and simply delicious. And the tomato-saffron combination is one of the most versatile accompaniments to any sea food dish – such as black cod over with tomato-fennel-saffron broth or the Saffron tagliatelle with tomato, fennel, saffron sauce and pan fried shrimp

serves: 8        difficulty: simple      prep time: 30 min


  • 2 whole pieces of black cod filet (i.e. the whole side of the fish) – about 2 lbs
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 2/3 cups Arborio rice (=1/3 cup per person)
  • 2 12 oz can tomatoes
  • 1 tbs fennel seeds
  • 8 tbs olive oil
  • 1 large pinch of Spanish saffron
  • 1 1/5  quarts of chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup heavy stock or half-and-half
  • 2 tbs canola or vegetable oil


First make the risotto. Place the chicken stock on the stove to heat it before you start any other prep.

Chop the onion.


Heat a large pot, and add the olive oil. When the oil starts shimmering, add the chopped onion and sautee until it becomes translucent – about 2-3 min.


Add the rice, and keep sautéing while stirring frequently – for another 2 min. Frying the rice that way before adding any stock is one of the keys to making a nice creamy risotto.

Puree the canned tomatoes – either using a food processor or a hand blender. Add the tomatoes, saffron and fennel seeds to the rice. Keep sautéing for another 3-4 min. Then start adding the stock – one ladle at a time. Every time you add stock, stir frequently, and wait until the liquid is almost entirely absorbed before adding more stock. After you add 2/3 of the stock you can remove the risotto from the heat – if you are preparing it ahead of time. If you are cooking it right before serving, then keep adding the stock.


After you have added 2/3 of the stock – taste and check for doneness. You want the rice to be slightly harder than you like it. At that point remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and add the cream. The risotto is done.

The fish takes only 3-4 min to prepare. Heat a fry pan large enough to hold all the fish. Portion the fish, and season it with salt and pepper. I typically don’t remove the skin of the black cod because it crisps nicely when fried. Add the canola (or vegetable) oil, and add the fish skin side up. Fry the fish on each side for about 90 sec to 2 min. Flip once.


To place, ladle some risotto on the plate, and top with the fried black cod.


Serve with crusty bread, and pair with a nice white burgundy like Raveneau Chablis Grand Cru ‘Valmur’ 2013 (extremely expensive),  Vincent Dauvissat Les Clos Chablís Grand Cru 2013 (very expensive),   J. Moreau & Fils Chablis Grand Cru ‘Valmur’ 2016 (more affordable), Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Chardonnay Bourgogne (even more affordable). 






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