I have a secret desire to live in Paris (well maybe it’s not such a secret) so it’s no surprise that one of my favorite cookbooks is Parisian Home Cooking.
The author, Michael Roberts, spent years in Paris shopping and cooking with friends and discovered the French way to cook, which is buying whatever looks best and freshest at the market and preparing meals simply. It kind of sounds how I cook here in New York. Nonetheless, I’m on a mission this fall to make at least several of the “Parisian” recipes in this charming book, buying the ingredients from my local food shops. I may not be in Paris, but at least I can daydream until my next visit with dishes like mussels with garlic butter, coquilles St Jacques bonne femme and chou chantilly. Here, a Portuguese-style cod stew (inspired by the author’s housekeeper), which I’ve adapted. It has a flavor combination I love: saffron, orange and tomato.
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 tsp thyme
pinch of saffron threads
1/2 cup white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
5 tbls extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 6-ounce cod fillets
flour for dusting
Make the stew
Combine the onion, garlic, pepper, tomatoes, zest, thyme, saffron, wine, 2 tablespoons of oil, 1 tsp salt and red pepper flakes in a Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Remove cover and cook another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, pat the cod dry and sprinkle with remaining salt, then dust with flour. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat and cook the cod, turning only once, until lightly golden on each side. Transfer fish to Dutch oven and cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve with rice if desired. Makes 4 servings.
Tip: I buy saffron at an Indian store such as Kalustyan’s—it’s a lot less expensive than it is at many other shops.