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Cod in Saffron Cream Sauce

The Best Cod in Spicy Saffron Cream Sauce

This gorgeous cod in a rich saffron cream sauce is a serious showstopper!

My cod in a spicy saffron cream sauce is so simple yet packed with amazing flavor.  The saffron in this recipe makes it a true showstopper, giving the dish a beautiful golden color and a rich velvety depth of flavor.

Saffron cream sauce is definitely a treat for the palate. Rich, savory, elegant and wonderful. It’s an easy recipe to make and brings to your table an upscale restaurant quality meal in about 30 minutes.  This cod recipe was inspired by an amazing dish I had during a trip to Israel, where I traveled to the famous fish restaurant, Uri Buri.  There I experienced so many creative preparations of fish, but one that stood out was a cauldron of white fish in a creamy sauce served with rice.  It was simple but the combination of flavors left me wanting more.  As soon as I returned back home I worked on replicating this dish.  After much experimentation, I came up with the perfect recipe. I also added  saffron which made the dish even so much better. The delicate flavors of the cod pair so perfectly with the creamed saffron and the spiciness from of the hot peppers.

You can definitely experiment with using other varities of white fish.  My suggestion would be to go to the market and select what looks and smells the most fresh.  Don’t be shy to have a conversation with your fish monger and if you don’t see a piece that fits your vision, ask for what you want.  For example, I generally prefer a thick center cut of the fish instead of the thinner tail ends.  I’ll shamelessly ask for two separate thick pieces instead of a single larger piece that has both the thick center cut and the thinner tail end.  Don’t feel bad asking for what you want, I find that most fish mongers are very happy to give you what you want.  I like my pieces to be as uniform as possible, which will ensure that all your pieces cook evenly and it also will present more visually appealing when serving.

You can control the spice level by the amount of hot peppers you include in the sauce, I generally like it on the spicier side, especially because you have the cream that helps balance the heat.  But feel free to modify based on your preference.

I pair the fish with short grain rice, or “sticky rice” which is a bit more starchy and is just perfect to soak up the wonderful cream sauce. I usually will also serve this with a side of green leafy veggies for a more balanced meal.

Cod in Saffron Cream Sauce

Cod in Saffron Cream Sauce

This creamy and spicy white fish, served over rice, is simple yet packed with flavor. 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Jewish, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 6


  • Medium saucepan
  • food processor optional
  • large sauté pan


  • 1.5 cup Short-grain white rice
  • 2 oz Anchovies packed in olive oil
  • 10 Garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 3 Green chiles, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Minced shallots
  • 2 tbsp High-acid dry white wine
  • 1 quart Heavy cream
  • 2 Red chiles, 1 chopped, 1 thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp Persian saffron, crushed and steeped in 1/4 cup boiling water
  • ¼ tsp Black pepper
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2-2.5 pounds Cod fillets, cut into 6 ounce servings thick center-cut peices


  • Combine the rice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Meanwhile, in a small food processor or blender, make a paste with the anchovies and their oil, garlic, green chiles, and salt. (Note: you can slo make the paste by hand with a knife mincing all ingredients until a paste is formed) Set aside.
  • In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the anchovy-garlic paste, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and let simmer for 2–3 minutes. Add the cream, chopped red chiles, saffron, and pepper and adjust the seasoning to taste. Stir in the parsley.
  • Serve the cod and sauce with the rice. Garnish with sliced red chile.
Keyword cod, fish