A few days ago, thinking about what to cook for lunch on Sunday, my husband suggested cod brandade. A dish that his French grandmother used to make and that I personally had never tried. After googling the recipe, I was surprised to find that it was a kind of puree that is usually eaten on toast in Spain, more like a tapa to accompany beers than a “dish-dish”.
Both in Spain and in France there are many recipes and versions for this dish; I chose the one that seemed the simplest and in French to try to emulate Mammé’s recipe. As I have read, it is a specialty of Nîmes; a classic but terribly comforting and delicious dish. And they are not wrong. I hope you like it as much as we did!
- 600 g of cod
- 600 g potatoes
- 400 ml of cream for cooking
- 140 g unsalted butter
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 liter of milk
- 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig of thyme
If you are using salted cod, you must soak it overnight, changing the water several times. You can also use fresh cod. Once it is desalted, rinse it well and cut into pieces.
Cook the potatoes with their skin in salted water until a knife easily pierces them, strain, let cool and peel.
Put the milk in a pot, add thyme and the bay leaf. Bring it to a boil and add the pieces of cod, lower the heat and cook for 8 minutes. Strain it and let it cool, remove the skin from the fish and shred the meat, removing any bones that may be present.
In another pot, place cream and the peeled and chopped garlic, in addition to 3/4 of diced butter, bring to a boil and when it boils remove it from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 250 ºC, with heat on top. In a large bowl mash the cooked potatoes with a fork, add the cod, pepper to taste and the cream and butter mixture. Mix vigorously until a homogeneous and almost white paste forms. Chunks of potato will still be visible.
Place the brandade in a baking dish, sprinkle the breadcrumbs and the rest of the butter cut into pieces on top. Bake until golden. Let it rest a bit before serving.
As a side dish, my suggestion is a salad and bread, lots of bread for dipping!