Braised Cod with Saffron & Clams

Perfect for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, this cod dish from Jody Adams is holiday-ready. Though relatively simple to prepare, its gets that extra special touch from a pinch of saffron, making it perfect for any celebratory dinners you’ve got planned in the next few weeks. Adams suggests serving it with toasted rustic bread slices to sop up all the delicious juices.


Servings: 6


  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head garlic, halved across the cloves
  • 6 5 ounce cod fillets
  • 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 2 cups white onion, 1/4 inch diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes, canned or fresh
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 18 littleneck clams
  • 2 tablespoons basil and parsley, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Smear a small pie plate with 1/2 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cut side of the garlic head halves down in the pan. Drizzle with an additional half tablespoon of oil. Roast in the preheated oven until the garlic is tender and the cut sides are golden brown, 50-60 minutes. Cool. Reduce heat in oven to 300 degrees.
  3. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the heads gently, and the individual cloves should slide right out of the skin. Reserve.
  4. Sprinkle the cod all over with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small Dutch oven over medium heat. Sear one side until golden brown. Remove the cod from the pan and set aside.
  6. Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil and the onions to the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook for 7 minutes or until the onions are tender and begin to color. Add the pancetta and chopped garlic and cook 3 minutes.
  7. Add the fennel seeds, hot red pepper flakes, saffron, bay leaves and white wine and cook until the wine is reduced by three quarters. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock, reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes.
  8. Set the cod in the Dutch oven. The liquid should come one third of the way up the cod. Cover with parchment paper.
  9. Cook for 10-15 minutes in the 300 degree oven, then remove.
  10. Remove the cod from the pan and add the clams and roasted garlic. Set the pan over medium-high heat, cover and cook until the clams have opened. This will take about 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped basil and parsley.
  11. Set a piece of cod in each of 6 bowls. Ladle the clams and juices over the cod. Serve immediately.

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