Serves a Crowd

Brandade de Morue

November 19, 2013
3 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Makes about 1 quart of delicious purée
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound salt cod, soaked at least 24 hours (2 days is better)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion stuck with 1 whole clove
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 to 1 cups heavy cream, warmed
  • 2 (or more) large cloves garlic, puréed with the side of a chef’s knife
  • 1 large warm baked potato, skinned (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Sea salt & freshly ground white pepper
  • A few drops of fresh lemon juice
  • Finely chopped parsley for garnish
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Serve as an appetizer with crisp toasts or crackers (or you could just eat it with a spoon…).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • bunten
  • cucina di mammina
    cucina di mammina
  • ChefJune
  • inpatskitchen
  • fiveandspice
30+ years a chef, educator, writer, consultant, "winie," travel guide/coordinator

14 Reviews

bunten December 10, 2017
I've made this dish with smoked trout and finnan haddie, too. Both are delicious!
Demington March 3, 2014
Would it also work in a food mill? I just made it in Cuisinart, per directions, and the potatoes turned a bit glue-y. Taste is good, but texture is not what I have eaten in France. Also is isn't it to be served very hot?
ChefJune March 10, 2014
Don't think the cod would do very well in a food mill, but I've never tried that. You could pound it in a (large) mortar with pestle. That would be the way it used to be done in Provence. Never been served it "very hot." You may do as you wish, of course.
cucina D. February 28, 2014
I was raised eating bacala in all forms and this recipe is just a beautiful combination of flavors and texture. I will need to make this soon, thank you for honoring this humble ingredient as it so deserves.
mags February 28, 2014
I love brandade de Morue but have never made it. Thanks for the recipe. One question: you suggest tasting the cod before poaching to make sure it is not too salty but don't say what to do if (one thinks) it is. Do you soak it longer?
ChefJune March 1, 2014
I taste it by rubbing my finger on it and sucking on the finger. Yes, if it's too salty, I'd soak it longer, but giving it two days pretty much ensures that won't happen. I start the soak by rinsing the piece(s) of cod. There's often a lot of loose "salt" on it.
ChefJune February 27, 2014
Thanks everyone. I made this last weekend. This reminded me how much I love it. And so do my favorite people to cook for!
inpatskitchen February 20, 2014
Warmest Congrats on the Wildcard Win! One to save!
fiveandspice February 19, 2014
Kukla February 19, 2014
Congratulations on the WC win, ChefJune!! This looks like the perfect appetizer.
Kendra V. February 19, 2014
carbs on carbs. I like it.
AntoniaJames February 19, 2014
Congratulations, ChefJune! What a great looking recipe. Can't wait to try it. ;o)
ChefJune February 19, 2014
Thanks AntoniaJames! It reminded me it's time to make it again. :D
Regine November 19, 2013
I adore this dish which I make as an appetizer to be eaten with nice crusty bread or crackers. The version I have is similar to yours but was found under the title of Baccala Mantecato which in Italian means whipped salt cod. But I am aware that this is also eaten in France. I know for a fact that your recipe is really really delicious.