Olive Tapenade Crusted Cod and Rosé Braised Fennel
This recipe combines the best flavours of Provence in one dish – seafood, olives, fennel and rosé. The very talented Gemma Wade crafted these ingredients into a delicious and almost too beautiful to eat Olive Tapenade Crusted Cod with Fennel Braised in Rosé. This dish was part of an Easter lunch menu that Gemma created for the Mirabeau Team, but don’t wait until next year to try it.
Cod is morue in French, buy your fish the day of to ensure maximal freshness. Save a bit of preparation time by making the olive tapenade and braised fennel in advance.
Cod with Tapenade Crust and Rosé Braised Fennel
For the Braised Fennel:
- 30 g (1 oz) Salted Butter
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1 tbsp Fennel Seeds
- 2 large Fennel Bulbs
- 1 glass (200ml) Mirabeau Rosé Wine
- 1/2 cube Chicken or vegetable stock Note: I use Kallo brand
- Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Roasted Cod with Black Olive Tapenade:
- 900 g (2 lb) Skinless, Boneless Cod Fillet ideally in one (1) piece
- 2 tbsp Fresh Breadcrumbs blitz a slice of bread in the food processor
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 1 stem Fresh Rosemary
- 2 Lemons
- 4 tbsp Black Olive Tapenade I use Belazu version (UK) or Trader Joe’s (US)
Make Your Own Black Olive Tapenade:
- 200 g (7 oz) Black Olives with pits
- 3 tbsp Capers
- 2 Anchovies
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1 Lemon
- 4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
Prepare the Braised Fennel:
- Heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan) 400°F (350°F convection).
- Put the butter into a small frying pan over medium heat while you peel and slice the garlic.
- Add the garlic slices to the pan along with the fennel seeds, and cook gently while you prepare the fennel.
- Cut the very ends off the fennel stalks, keeping any feathery fronds to use as a herb at the end of cooking.
- Chop the fennel bulb in half from root to stalk, then cut the root ends off. Then cut each half into slices around 5mm (¼ inch) thick from root to tip.
- Lay the fennel in a deep-sided ceramic or glass baking dish, around A4 size.
- When the garlic is gently golden and soft, add the wine to the pan and allow it to bubble for a minute before adding the stock cube and 100ml (half a cup) boiling water.
- Use a spatula to squish the cube into the liquid until combined, then take off the heat and pour it over the fennel slices. Tightly cover the fennel dish with foil, then bake for 45 minutes until the fennel is tender.
- When the fennel is ready, either season with lemon zest and juice and a final splash of wine and serve immediately or use as a base for the cod. Once the fennel is cooked, it can sit in the fridge for 4 days and can be reheated in the oven.
Cooking the Cod:
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan) 400°F (350°F convection).
- Put the breadcrumbs into a small frying pan with a teaspoon of oil and a whole stem of rosemary, cook on medium heat for around 6 minutes, shaking occasionally until they turn a dark golden brown and rustle when you shake the pan. These can be done the day before and sit out of the fridge.
- Season both sides of the cod with salt and pepper then, mix the tapenade and two-thirds of the breadcrumbs and spread over the top of the fish. It is easier but slightly messier to do this with your fingers.
- Place the cod on top of the cooked fennel or cook it on its own on a lightly oiled metal baking tray. Cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your piece of fish. A single piece will take longer. Check after 10 minutes, and once you see the large flakes starting to separate, take a look at the centre, it should no longer be cold and should gently flake when you push it. If it doesn’t flake, put it back in the oven for 2 minutes before checking again. Remember, the fish will continue to cook for a few minutes, so it is worth playing a waiting game and keep checking every 2 minutes at this stage.
- When the fish is ready, take it from the oven and zest a lemon all over the tapenade before sprinkling the remaining toasted breadcrumbs over the tapenade for a final contrasting crunch.
- Serve the fish and fennel with wedges of lemon. A blog of good homemade or shop bought mayonnaise would be pretty lovely alongside too.
Make Your Own Olive Tapenade:
- Make the salty, pungent tapenade for the recipe above and use any leftovers as a topping for crostini, stirred through pasta or boiled potatoes or spread on a sandwich. I love it dotted on tomatoes too. The saltiness makes it the perfect thing to dip into alongside a glass of rosé before dinner.
- Use the side of a knife to squish the olives then rip them to remove the stones. Discard the stones.
- Put all the olives, capers, anchovies and garlic in a food processor and pulse until you have a fine mush. Alternatively, crush in a mortar and pestle or chop finely with a knife.
- Add the olive oil and the juice and zest of half a lemon and mix or blend again. Taste and add more lemon juice and zest as needed. A jar will last for a week in the fridge.
More Recipes with Cod:
Salt Cod Gratin Brandade de Morue by Tasha Powell
Cod with Zucchini Flowers by Jane Langton
Roast Cod à la Provencal with Ratatouille and Tomato Coulis by Jane Langton