Cod baked on braised Saffron and Tomato Potatoes

Thick, flaky pieces of cod are seared and then baked on top of boulangere-style potatoes, flavoured with thyme, a touch of saffron and tomatoes.


Serves 6

Preparation Time

Cook time

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Cook's NoteTo skin and deseed tomatoes, cut out the stalk at each end with the tip of a small, sharp knife. Put them into a deep heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water from the kettle. Leave for 30 seconds then drain and cover with cold water. Peel away the skins, cut the tomatoes into quarters and scoop away the seeds with your fingers or a teaspoon.
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  • 1kg floury potatoes, peeled
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 8 (approx. 600g) small vine tomatoes – peeled and deseeded
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • The leaves from 2 sprigs thyme, plus extra to garnish
  • A good pinch of saffron strands
  • 6×175-200g pieces thick cod fillet, skinned
  • 25g butter, melted
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Harissa mayonnaise:

  • 1 large free-range egg yolk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp harissa paste
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 150ml olive oil


Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400F / Gas Mark 6. For fan assisted electric ovens reduce the temperature by 20°C

Peel the potatoes and cut them across into 1cm thick slices.

Heat the extra virgin olive oil and sliced garlic in the casserole, as soon as the garlic starts to sizzle, add the tomatoes and cook for 4 minutes until soft. Stir in the potatoes, chicken stock, thyme, saffron and ½ teaspoon of salt. Part-cover with the lid and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes, carefully turning the potato slices over half way through. Cook until the potatoes are almost tender and the liquid is partly-reduced.

For the harissa mayonnaise; put the egg yolk, lemon juice and salt into a small mixing bowl and place the bowl on a tea towel or damp cloth to stop it slipping. Using an electric hand held whisk or wire whisk, beat in the harissa and garlic, then very gradually drizzle in the oil, beating all the time, until you have a thick, mayonnaise-like mixture.

Brush the pieces of cod fillet on both sides with some of the melted butter, then season well with salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick frying pan (TNS) over a high heat. Add the pieces of fish, skin-side down and cook for 4 minutes until nicely golden. Turn the fish over and cook for 2 minutes.

Uncover the potatoes and place the fish on top, skinned-side down. Slide the casserole into the oven and roast for 5-7 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through.

Carefully lift the cod onto a plate and spoon some of the potatoes into the centre of 4 warmed soup plates. Place the cod on top, garnish with a few thyme leaves and serve with a spoonful of the harissa mayonnaise.