pinch of saffron threads
250ml (1 cup) hot water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
20g unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
sea salt
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
125ml (½ cup) dry white wine
200g canned whole peeled tomatoes
3 parsley sprigs, leaves picked and roughly chopped, stalks reserved
400g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
600g skinless fillets of firm white fish, cut into 3cm pieces
juice of 1 lemon
crusty bread or soft polenta, to serve

Poaching is a beautiful way to cook fish quickly. This is such a flavourful dish and comes together without much effort at all. Serve this with crusty bread or creamy polenta and the meal is complete.


1.Place the saffron threads in a small bowl and cover with the hot water. Set aside to steep for 10 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, warm the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over a low heat.
3.Add the garlic, a pinch of salt and the chilli flakes and gently cook for 3 minutes. You don’t want the garlic to colour.
4.Increase the heat to medium and pour in the wine, allowing it to simmer for 1 minute.
5.Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a wooden spoon, along with the parsley stalks, chickpeas and the saffron and water.
6.Allow to simmer gently for 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
7.Add the fish and poach for around 5 minutes until just cooked through.
8.Remove the parsley stalks and discard.
9.Season to taste. Scatter with the chopped parsley leaves and finish with a good squeeze of lemon juice.
10.Serve with crusty bread or on a bed of creamy polenta.

An edited extract from A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura.

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