Drain the split peas and put them into a pan with the onion, garlic, celery, bay leaves and thyme. Cover with 1.2L/2 pint water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 1 hour, until the split peas are really tender and most of the liquid has evaporated but the mixture is still quite wet (the peas will continue to absorb the liquid after the cooking time is up).
Mix together all the ingredients for the tartare sauce.
Lift out and discard the onion, celery, bay leaves and thyme from the peas and mash the peas briefly with a potato masher to make a coarse paste. Stir in the butter and some seasoning to taste and keep warm.
Preheat the grill to high. Brush the pieces of cod with the melted butter and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Place skin-up on a greased baking tray or the rack of the grill pan and grill for 8-10 minutes, until the skin is crisp and the cod is cooked through.
Meanwhile, make sure the split peas are hot and add a little water if necessary to give them a creamy texture.
Serve the cod on top of the peas with the tartare sauce.
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