Brandade is a wonderful dish from Marseille made from reconstituted salt cod and mixed with silky mashed potatoes to create an excellent, tasty dip perfect for any party or gathering.
Though Brandade is a purely French specialty of pureed salt cod, there is some debate over the addition of potatoes. Traditionalists insist that Cod alone is enough to create the smooth texture for which the dip is renowned. Other French cuisine experts enjoy the dimension added by potatoes and fearlessly throw them into the mix. Whichever version, undoubtedly this is a classic of the French kitchen from the south.
Cook’s note: Be careful to bring the salt cod to just a simmer. If the cod is cooked any fiercer or even worse boiled, it will become tough and useless for this dip and a real shame.
- 8 oz salt cod, rinsed well
- 2 large baking potatoes, peeled, boiled, and mashed without additions
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon ground thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- Salt to taste
- Soak cod in a big bowl of water for three days, changing water twice daily.
- In a small saucepan, bring cream, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and cloves to a gentle simmer for 6-8 minutes, until garlic is just tender. Remove bay leaf from cream and discard it. Process the cream in a blender until garlic is completely pureed.
- Drain the cod for the last time and discard the soaking water.
- In a separate saucepan, cover the cod with water and bring to a simmer. Drain the cod and add it, along with the garlic cream and mashed potatoes, to an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, until the mixture is well combined. Beat for an additional 30 seconds, adding the olive oil in a slow stream. Do not over beat this mixture or you risk turning the potato to glue.
- Finally, Season with salt and pepper; serve on a freshly sliced baguette, sourdough or pain rustique.
What is Salt Cod?
Simply, salt cod is a preservation method used for - you guessed it) - cod. In many parts of the world salted cod is a great alternative when there is no fresh cod, though it in no way resembles the fresh fish, once reconstituted with water it makes a delicious dish.
The cod is soaked, quite literally in salt for several days which sucks all the moisture from the fish. It will keep for several months. Before cooking the cod needs to be reconstituted by soaking in water to remove the salt and the little remaining after adds a lot to the dish.
Brandade is also known as Bacalao in other cultures.