Brandade de Morue is a very traditional Provençal dish, and one of my favorite comfort foods. This may just be the ultimate in mashed potatoes! My first trip to Provence was in winter, and brandade was on every menu. When it’s all mixed together, it looks just like mashed potatoes – but more. You really must try it. —ChefJune
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: ChefJune is a food & wine educator, consultant, and writer living in New York.
WHAT: Classic, creamy brandade, done right.
HOW: Soak your salt cod overnight, then poach it with an onion and bay leaf. Purée with potato, olive oil, cream, salt, and pepper. Slather on toast.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love the transformation of humble salt cod into something so creamy, so ethereal; it's no wonder this is such a classic dish. We'd serve this as a classy hors d'oeuvre -- but with a crusty baguette and a glass of wine, it would make a fine dinner. —The Editors
about 1 quart of delicious purée
salt cod, soaked at least 24 hours (2 days is better)
onion stuck with 1 whole clove
plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 to 1 cups
heavy cream, warmed
(or more) large cloves garlic, puréed with the side of a chef’s knife
large warm baked potato, skinned (about 1 1/2 cups)
Place the salt cod in a large bowl of cold water to cover. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to soak for one or two days. Change the water at least four times during the soaking period. Drain. Before you poach the cod, taste it with the tip of your tongue to make sure it is not too salty.
Put the cod into a heavy, non-reactive 3-quart saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the bay leaf and onion and bring slowly to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer gently for 5 minutes, then allow it to cool in the water. Drain. Remove skin and bones and break it into pieces.
Clean the saucepan and return the poached cod to the pan. Add
1/4 cup olive oil and stir vigorously over moderate heat for several minutes to shred the fish and warm the oil. Heat the remaining olive oil and cream in another pan just to warm them.
Place the cod in the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the potato and garlic and process for a few seconds. Add the garlic and continue processing, alternately adding warm oil and cream until mixture is the consistency of fluffy mashed potatoes -- exact amounts of each are up to you. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and drops of lemon juice. At the very end, stir in some finely chopped parsley to brighten it.
Serve as an appetizer with crisp toasts or crackers (or you could just eat it with a spoon…).