SAVEUR - - Range -

SERVES 4 To­tal: 1 hr.

A cod head makes a star­tling main course, but your din­ner guests will find their brav­ery re­warded with the juici­est and most ten­der morsels that the fish has to of­fer, en­hanced by a rich pan sauce made with the drip­pings. One head can eas­ily serve as a meal’s cen­ter­piece for sev­eral peo­ple—it in­cludes the lus­ciously tex­tured tongue and chin, meaty cheeks, and the col­lar meat be­hind the gills.

5 cel­ery stalks (10 oz.) 2 tart ap­ples (15 oz.), cored and cut into thick wedges 1 large cod head with col­lars at­tached (up to 2½ lb. to­tal) Kosher salt 1 lemon, halved cross­wise 12 thyme sprigs 2 Tbsp. dry fino or amon­til­lado

sherry 8 Tbsp. un­salted but­ter, melted 1½ tsp. ground mace Crusty bread, for dip­ping


1 Pre­heat the oven to 375°F. In a 9-by-13-inch roast­ing pan, ar­range the cel­ery and ap­ples to serve as a roast­ing rack.

2 Sea­son the inside and out­side of the cod head gen­er­ously with salt. Place the head, eyes up, onto the cel­ery and ap­ples, spread­ing the col­lars out to the side like wings. Cut two ½-inch slices from the cen­ter of the lemon and place them over the eyes. Squeeze the juice from the re­main­ing lemon over the head, then tuck the spent lemon halves be­neath it. Ar­range the thyme around the cod head. Driz­zle the sherry on top, fol­lowed by 2 ta­ble­spoons of melted but­ter. Sprin­kle with the mace.

3 Roast the head, bast­ing with 2 ta­ble­spoons of the melted but­ter ev­ery 15 min­utes, un­til the meat flakes eas­ily from the bone, 35–45 min­utes, de­pend­ing on the size of the head. 4 Serve in the roast­ing pan, with crusty bread for dip­ping if de­sired.


The odd bits of the fish are the best part of a pro­ject like this. See “From Nose to Tail Fin” on p. 108 for how to use them up.

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