Brandade de morue
Brandade is like fondue, one of those old school recipes that doesn’t deserve to be forgotten. Brandade de morue, is a union of potatoes and cod fish, one of the most solid marriages I can think of. You get crunch that leads to hot moist yielding softness, all enveloped in heady garlic aromas. And it sounds great when you say it in French. What could be bad? OK….there’s quite a bit of olive oil involved and some cream, but it’s still worth the indulgence now and then.
Like any classic recipe, there are literally thousands of variations. This is how I make mine.
Buy some dried cod fish; it’s a great thing to have around the
house, very versatile and can last a very long time in the
fridge. I don’t recommend buying the pre-soaked stuff because then you
loose control over when you use it and the salt content. Dried cod is
very salty and needs to be pre-soaked. Nothing difficult here, throw
the cod in a big bowl of cold water and every hour or so, rinse the
fish and change the water; or leave it overnight in the bowl of water
in the fridge and you can use it the next day. Most of the time the
salt will be released in around 3 hours or so; you can taste a nibble
of the fish to see if the salt has been eliminated. Again, I try to
get most of the salt out so that I can control how much will go back
1 lb of soaked cod cut into small chunks
1 lb of potatoes, peeled and cubed
4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ medium onion, finely chopped
3 T heavy cream
5 T olive oil
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375F.
Set up 2 pots of water to boil. One for the potatoes, one for the cod
fish, only add salt to the potato pot. Boil the potatoes until tender,
about 15 minutes. Boil the cod for 5 minutes, so that it is yielding to
Drain the cod fish and place in a large mixing boil; break up the
pieces with a fork. Drain the potatoes and add to the cod fish, garlic
and onions. With the whisk attachment on a hand beater, start to whip
the mixture, slowly incorporating the oil, then adding the cream until
you get a luscious mashed potato texture. Taste the mixture and add
salt as needed.
Place into either individual oven proof dishes, or one large oven proof
dish, add a final splash of olive oil on top, and bake at 375 until the
top is crusty and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes. I like a higher crisp
top to soft interior ratio, so I’ll choose a large dish, and spread the
mixture a little thinner.
Enjoy with some olives, crusty bread, a lemony salad, and a crisp white
wine. We drank the last of our stash of Vouvray last night, and
although I was sorry to see it go, it went down so well with the
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