Brandade is a French dish made with salt cod, garlic, olive oil, and cream. Our version is based on one created by Tom Colicchio at New York City's Gramercy Tavern.
1 small head garlic
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup diced yukon gold potato
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1⁄2 lbs. fresh cod filet, 2" thick
2 tbsp. peanut oil
2 tbsp. prepared tapenade
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Wrap garlic in foil and bake for 35 minutes. Cool garlic, cut top off its head, and use a knife to squeeze meat from peel. Prepare the brandade in a heavy saucepan. Cook garlic, cream, potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste over low heat until potatoes are almost done, 5–7 minutes. Place 1⁄2 lb. of the cod in a roasting pan, pour cream mixture over it, and bake until fish is completely cooked, 10–15 minutes. Strain sauce into medium saucepan, discard thyme, and reserve vegetables and fish. Over moderate heat, reduce sauce by half, remove from heat, add vegetables, flake fish into sauce, then cover and keep warm.
2. Lower oven to 350°. Season remaining 1 lb. cod with salt and pepper. Heat peanut oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Brown fish on both sides, then roast in oven for 10 minutes or until firm. Meanwhile, reheat sauce over a low flame. To serve, spoon brandade on bottom of large serving platter and place roasted filets on top. Place dollops of tapenade on top of fish and serve.