Recipe for Salt-Cod Brandade a Provencal Classic
The following recipe for salt-cod brandade comes from Gilles Conchy at The Provence Gourmet. The South of France native and his wife returned to the Aix-en-Provence area from southern California with mixed feelings. Although, they were happy to be back in France they were sad to leave California (who wouldn’t be?).
The Provence Gourmet is a culinary experience. The day starts at the market, where Gilles Conchy will provide some menu ideas. Collectively you will shop for the ingredient, and sample some of the local specialities before heading to his kitchen where you will need to roll-up your sleeves and help with the preparation. After a couple of hours of cooking it’s time to eat. Read more about his cooking classes and corporate offerings here.
In Portugal, the culinary rumour is that there are 365 (or more) ways to cook salt-cod (bacalhau) – one for every day of the year. Cod is called morue in French. It is quite common to find this fish on menus, and it is often the “centre” of attention in the traditional Provencal aioli (recipe here). Gilles recipe for brandade a purée of salt cod, olive oil and other ingredients is below.
Salt Cod Brandade
- 400 gr (14 oz) Salted cod
- 400 gr (14 oz) ‘Old’ Potatoes they should flake easily when cooked
- 40 cl (13 oz) Heavy Cream
- 40 cl (13 oz) Milk
- 15 cl (5 oz) olive oil
- 5 Garlic Cloves crushed
- 5 Bay Leaves
- 100 gr (4 oz) Dried Breadcrumbs for the topping
- Dried hot pepper to taste
- Preparation: 24H before cooking rinse the salt off your cod and cover it water in a dish.
- Change the water 5 times throughout the next 24H, that’s the usual time for most of the salt to be taken out.
- Peel and rinse your potatoes, cut them in half and boil them with the milk, the cream, the peeled garlic and the bay leaves.
- Once cooked take your potatoes out and let them cool down.
- Filter the milk/cream and keep it.
- Meanwhile cook the cod into a pan filled with cold water. Note the cooking time is short.
- Usually when water starts boiling the fish is cooked.
- Remove the cod out and that check the meat falls apart easily. Never leave the fish into boiling water, it hardens it.
- Separate the fish meat into small filaments removing all the bones.
- Then pour the olive oil little by little while stirring the fish meat.
- Once it is done add the potatoes and about half of the milk/cream.
- Add a little hot pepper and mix it all with a fork until it becomes smooth and homogeneous.
- Taste to check if seasoning suits you. Spread the breadcrumbs on top and grill it shortly just before serving with a green salad.