I love to cook with fish—especially after Austin goes fishing—and I developed this recipe because I was looking for something that would be creamy but also really simple to make. For this recipe, I make a sauce out of white wine, cream, and fresh dill, then just slip the fillets into the pan and put the whole thing into the oven until the fish is tender and infused with the bright, creamy sauce. I like to serve it with saffron rice, which has a flavor that reminds me of food that I enjoyed when I studied in Spain as a student.
When I make this rich meal of creamy fish and flavorful rice, I often make a bright, crisp salad of mixed greens and vegetables dressed with olive oil, lemon, mustard, and some seasonings to accompany it. (At our house, salad is a staple—we have it with dinner pretty much every night!)
White Fish with Dill Sauce with Saffron Rice
Ingredients for White Fish:
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped and smashed with the side of a knife
- 2 leeks, sliced crosswise into thin rounds
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
- 6 fillets white fish (like cod)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 lemon, sliced crosswise
Directions for White Fish:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large, oven-safe pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and leeks, and cook until they’re just starting to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add the wine to the pan, and cook until the liquid is just lightly reduced, about 3 minutes.
Add the cream to the pan, and cook, stirring, until warm, about 5 minutes. Add the salt and the dill to the pan, turn down the heat a bit to medium-low, and cook, stirring until the sauce begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Add the fish fillets to the pan and use tongs to flip them once or twice, so that they are completely covered in the sauce.
Add the lemon juice to the pan, then place the slices on top of the fish. Bake the fish until it’s tender, about 30 minutes. To test the fish, poke a fork into one fillet, and twist; the fish should flake relatively easily. Serve with saffron rice (recipe below).
Ingredients for Saffron Rice:
- 2 pinches saffron threads
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 cups vegetable stock or chicken broth
Directions for Saffron Rice:
Put a kettle of water on to boil. While you’re waiting for the water, put 1 pinch of the saffron in a mortar and crush it into powder. When the water has boiled, add ¼ cup to the saffron, then add the remaining threads.
Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium-low heat, then add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is golden, about 5 minutes.
While the onion is cooking, wash the rice in a strainer until the water running through is no longer milky white.
Add the rice to the pot, stir everything together, and then add the saffron-infused water. Stir everything well, add the stock and bring the liquid up to a simmer. Lower the heat as much as possible, cover the pot, and simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed into the rice, about 15 minutes.