Pot roast cod with Saffron and Fennel Pollen

pot roast cod wih fennel pollen and saffron

I am continuing to explore some spices and herbs that I do not often use. Having spent much of my childhood inspecting a myriad of largely unlabelled, differently sized pots of spices, nuts and herbs in my mother’s kitchen, the scent component of flavour is an important one to me. This recipe then is one that uses 2 very heady and distinctive spices. Saffron and Fennel Pollen. They are both somewhat floral in character and they work well together in this recipe.

I have used a low temperature to cook the cod and it makes the fish flaky and tender. The gentle roast gives time for the flavours to meld, the herbs and spices infusing the cod with a scent and flavour that is reminiscent of Southern Spain or North Africa. A light dish, this is perfect if you are watching your calorie intake. It is also a perfect family dish, since the soft roasted cod and potatoes are very amenable to mashing for infants and cutting into small pieces for young children.

Cod is less ‘fishy’ in taste than many other fish varieties and may therefore be more likely to be accepted by young children. My advice is lots of fish from a young age. Not only will it mean they are adapted to it and accept it better, but it is high in omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids. Aside from being important in maintaining cardiovascular health in adults, recent work has suggested omega 3 and other essential fatty acids may help brain development in young children.

Pot Roast Cod with Saffron and Fennel Pollen

roasted cod with saffron and dill pollen

Level: Easy

Time: 15 Minutes preparation, 30 Minutes cooking

Recipe (serves 2)


2 Cod Loins

350g Waxy potatoes (Charlotte, Jersey Royal or New) Peeled and Chopped

Half an onion, chopped finely

2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped finely

1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence

Pinch of Saffron

Half a Teaspoon of Fennel Pollen

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 tablespoon Olive Oil


Preheat the oven to 160 Deg C

Parboil the potatoes until just soft, then cool them down in cold water and let them drain off excess water.

Layer them in a wide casserole dish.

Heat the oil in a frying pan .

Add the Onion and cook until softened.

Add in the garlic and continue to stir.

Pour the oil, onion and garlic onto the potato.

recipe for pot roast cod with potatoes

Lay the cod loin on the potato and scatter with the herbs, saffron and fennel pollen

Scatter with capers and cover with foil or lid

Roast for 15 minutes then check how well cooked the cod is, uncover and roast for a further 10-15 minutes



Do you have any favourite ways to cook cod (other than battered or crumbed!) – all ideas most welcome!


Categories: Diet, Fish

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24 Comments on “Pot roast cod with Saffron and Fennel Pollen”

  1. laura_howtocook
    October 16, 2012 at 9:51 PM #

    What a fantastic dish. If I could eat fish every night of the week I would be a very happy girl!
    Such a good way to cook using a pan covered with foil to keep in all the delicate flavours. Luckily my children adore white fish, I may try this method out on them as I like to buy fish usually on a Friday x

    • October 17, 2012 at 10:31 PM #

      Thanks Laura, our kids enjoyed it though perhaps for fussy eaters slightly less saffron.

  2. October 16, 2012 at 11:50 PM #

    Delicious pairing of cod and saffron!

    • October 17, 2012 at 10:32 PM #

      Thank you. It was a good combination. I am just starting to use saffron a little more creatively and in some savoury dishes as well as sweet

  3. October 17, 2012 at 9:50 AM #

    I should explore more spices and herbs, too. I’ve a lot of spices but I start combining the same type again and again for convenience. Great sweet and herby cod!

    • October 17, 2012 at 10:33 PM #

      Thanks Rita, I know you have such a wonderful heritage of deliciously scented herbs for your Italian kitchen!

  4. October 17, 2012 at 11:07 AM #

    Where oh where did you get the fennel pollen? I have been dying to cook with it for ages!

    • October 17, 2012 at 10:36 PM #

      I got it from a specialist supplier. You can get it online too. DM me if you cannot find it 🙂

  5. leeksandlimoni
    October 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM #

    I’ve never used fennel pollen, I’m intrigued! Looks wonderful, I love cod cooked slowly like this.

    • October 17, 2012 at 10:37 PM #

      Yes slow cooked made a huge difference, as I’m not a fan of baked cod normally but it is much more flaky

  6. Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand
    October 17, 2012 at 9:03 PM #

    What a beautiful dish Nazima. I’ve never tasted fennel pollen before – does it impart a subtle aniseed flavour?

    • October 17, 2012 at 10:39 PM #

      Thanks so much! It is intensely fennelly (is that a word?!). When you smell it you just know it will be wonderful with fish. So in summary, yes aniseed is in there !

  7. October 18, 2012 at 8:21 PM #

    A beautiful dish and you know how much I love fish too! I often cook with saffron, but have not tried fennel pollen yet, it’s on my list to try! Karen

  8. October 24, 2012 at 1:16 PM #

    This looks fantastic, really delicious! Ive never used pollen before, very interesting! Love the new site as well!

  9. andreamynard
    October 24, 2012 at 8:15 PM #

    This looks so delicious and yet nicely simple to cook, all in one pot. Hadn’t heard of fennel pollen before but definitely want to track it down. I love fish and reckon my 5 year old may like this dish too. Thanks for great recipe. Andrea

  10. October 25, 2012 at 3:51 PM #

    looks delocious, makes me want to go home and cook something yummy!

  11. October 28, 2012 at 9:27 PM #

    This looks and sounds gorrrrgeous!

  12. October 30, 2012 at 4:30 PM #

    I am so pleased that writers before me asked the fennel pollen question. Penzey’s is an on line company that sells many unusual spices; I’ll contact them to see if they have or can get some.

  13. November 2, 2012 at 6:48 AM #

    Great! I was given a pot of fennel pollen fairly recently and it has flirted with some baking, but not fish. Must remedy this failing in my fennel pollen repertoire! Gorgeous recipe. We are huge fish fans here at food to glow, having it probs three times a week. In other words, obsessed.

    • November 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM #

      Oh am sure you will also be doing interesting things with the fennel pollen so please do blog them as I’ve a big pot pot of it to use !

  14. November 29, 2012 at 11:08 AM #

    This is just beautiful. It sounds delicate and flavourful and looks wonderful.

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