Thursday, February 26, 2015

Brandade – Hot Cod

There are certain things that if I see on a menu, I will almost always order them, and brandade is one of those things. This amazing dish from the south of France can be made many different ways, but it’s usually some sort of combination of salt cod, potato, garlic, and olive oil.

Once made, it can be eaten as is, or turned into a beautifully browned and bubbly gratin. Actually, forget I said that, as this should always be baked and eaten piping hot, ideally with some homemade crostini.

The biggest (and only) challenge with this dish is handling the salt cod. It needs to be soaked in cold water for a day or two before you can work with it. However, depending on which salt cod you use, the time this takes can vary. If you’ve never used it before, follow the instructions herein, but maybe cut off a small piece once it’s soaked, cook it in a little bit of water, and test it for salt content. It should still be kind of salty, but not unpleasantly so.

As I mention in the video, the final product should get precariously close to being too salty, without going past that point. It's going to be similar to things like smoked salmon, prosciutto, or salami. This is why you should not do any salting, including when you boil the potatoes, until everything comes together.

This is a great recipe for entertaining, since you can make it ahead of time, and bake when you’re ready to serve. You can use one large shallow dish, or do a smaller size portion like I did here. Remember everything is cooked; so all you need to do is heat it through, brown the top, and serve. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 24 snack-sized portions:
1 pound skinless salt cod fillet, soaked in cold water for 24-36 hours, changing water 4-5 times
2 bay leaves
6 springs thyme
1 1/2 cups whole milk
pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
8 large garlic cloves, peeled, halved
1 pound gold potatoes, cooked until tender with garlic
1/2 lemon, juiced, or to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp crème fraiche for the top, optional

- Bake at 450 F. for about 20, or until browned

35 comments:

Beatrice Lawson said...

Great recipe and nice to see salt cod in a recipe. I get mine in a pouch at the grocery store - usually comes from Greece or Spain, despite being in Canada:-) I didn't even know I could get local salted cod.
I make a mix of brandade and skordalia learned from my Greek grandma and it is fantastic. We don't bake the mix at the end, which I guess mellows it a bit, and we use fresh garlic as is instead of cooking it, so the garlic taste is stronger. I will give your recipe a try, I think the mellower flavour would make it great as an entertaining/party appetizer. (I never serve mine to guests, it's all for me!!) Thanks as usual for a great video!

Shaz Green said...

Hi Chef John.
I'm from Australia, and cod isn't readily available here (and when it is, it's smoked and ORANGE from Africa!). Is there an substitute easily found in Australia that I can find? Would perch or barramundi work?
Thanks! xx

chendi gu said...

Since it needs one or two days to remove some of the salt or rehydrate the cod, can I simply use slighted salted cod? I think I can cover the fish with salt and leave it there until it's a little bit salted but not completely dehydrated.

Chef John said...

Are you asking if you can make your own salt cod, and then use that? Sure, and good luck. ;)

Chef John said...

Sorry I'm not sure what alternatives exist in Australia! But, are there any Italian stores? They would have it. Also easy to find on the Internet.

Kyle Young said...

Are those black olives back there?

LauzPT said...

Actually Chef John, you can taste the salted cod raw, to check for saltiness.
We Portuguese love our salted cod, and in fact, claim to have more than a thousand ways to cook it.. but of course we also tried it raw!
One of our most tradicional dishes is a sort of salted cod tartare!
Try it: soaked salt cod, shredded; sweet onion, sliced; black olives (or any kind you have around); and a good drizzle of EVOO all over. Serve with bread and call it Lusitanian sashimi :)

Gualter Rocha said...

Hello,

Salted cod is a traditional ingredient in Portugal! we say "you can make 1.000 recipes with it"


Try to make all the steps, until ready to the oven,(less "liquidy" and without the lemon) add chopped fresh parsley and deep fry until golden brown (make small balls to fry)

In Portugal we call this bolinhos de bacalhau.

regards

thisizk8 said...

I grew up in a town that used to be a big manufacturer of salt cod & we would eat something like this for supper when I was a kid. We'd thicken the milk w/ flour, flake the fish & serve the combined mixture over the mashed potatoes. Also it always came w/ a side of picked beets.

Chef John said...

those are black olives!

vancod said...

You frequently say "juice of half a lemon" in your recipes - and that can be extremely arbitrary.

I've had lemons where a half yields 2 teaspoons, and where a half yields 1/4 cup.

It would be great if you could be specific where it matters....

Chef John said...

I'm always specific when it matters. Here, like most recipes, the lemon is to taste, so giving a specific amount doesn't work, since I don't know exactly how much someone is going to want to use. A half a lemon is just a guess, and probably close, but only the maker knows.

Comfort Dentist said...

can we use fresh cod or fresh frozen cod??

tadees said...

Greetings Chef -
I'm a little unclear on why we'd want to start with salted cod, only to soak it for an extended period to remove a lot of the saltier flavors. Seems like it'd be easier to buy market cod and add a bit of salt (which we could control), versus buying presalted and trying to remove salt...?

Aaron said...

What kind of store would I expect to find salt cod in?

Paula Bad said...

Yum! This is also traditional in Catalunya (north east corner of Spain)... Try stuffing some Spanish Piquillo Peppers with it, delicious!

sofie dingemans said...

C'est merveilleux! I made brandade yesterday night and find your recipe this morning. Funny. I am living close to Nice and yes, this is a very common food here. A spanish friend of mine "poaches" the cod in olive oil and puts loads of fresh garlic when mashing. Whichever way you make your brandade, it's always YUMMY.
Merci Chef John pour tous les bons petits plats ;-)

Monica said...

You can make this with ordinary cod fish or any white fish if you are on a salt free diet and then it is a fish pie.

Chef John said...

Yes you can use fresh cod, and just season with salt to taste, but like many dried things (for example, mushrooms, herbs, fruits, etc.) the flavor is quite different than the fresh variety, even when it's rehydrated. So, that's why we use dried cod for this.

Dan Powell said...

Why eat bacon if you can buy fresh pork belly?

Franklin Tieu said...

Hi chef john, remember me; that random kid that was planning an anniversary for his grandparents and asked you to show a recipe on how to make fafel? Well here I am again and I'm practically begging you to post the recipe. My grandfather is dying and my grandmother is crying her eyes out. I would be more than extremely happy if you showed us the recipe because you know, the first stage of a break up is to stuff your face. And just to clear the air, the first time I asked you the question, it was 6 months away from their anniversary because I know someone so busy wouldn't have enough time to create something with a snap. Please help me out chef John and thanks in advance.

nitrofish420 said...

I'd love to try this, but holy crap, salt cod is friggin expensive! For what it is, anyway. I always figured it was kind of a cheap sustinance type food, I had no idea it would be so pricey. I've never seen it anywhere locally, and at $20+ dollars a pound, I'm afraid I have to pass.

Stelios Nick Mamatis said...

Chef John Hi. Thank you very much for the Brandade recipe as I lived in the South West of France and just loved Brandade and could not get that recipe. So well done and thanks again.

Krivoy knowles-smith said...

Hi Chef John,
I live on a small island in the Bahamas. We don't have cod. Can I use lobster or conch instead of cod for this recipe?

Chef John said...

Of course you can, but never having tried. I have no idea how it will come out. Good luck!

mitchell muzquiz said...

Hey chef Jean (john). I ordered my Salted cod from LA Tienda. I have received it, and noticed it's semi salted, and it's actually still a bit moist. Would this fish be ok in this reipe? Thanks for your time amigo.

Chef John said...

Yes, it will!

mitchell muzquiz said...

Muchos Gracias. Big hugs to you.

mitchell muzquiz said...

Sooo. Come to find out my fish was spoiled. I was unaware that it was semi dried. So I didn't feel the need to expedite the fish. Oh boy, that was a huge mistake. Always pay the extra money for better shipping folks.

mitchell muzquiz said...

Without notice. I was reimbursed for the fish, with a brand new order of Salted cod, skin on. They left a recipe booklet for Bacalao al pil pil. I was truly amazed when I looked it up.im gonna try and take it on. I'm a bit of a novice. Hopefully it works out. Hint hint. Look up Bacalao al pil pil. I can't find any videos in english. Help me someone.

nitrofish420 said...

UPDATE! My local grocer started carrying salt cod in a similar 1 lb. box as yours for $10, so I picked one up! Brandade, here I come...

Jhonathan Marquez said...

Can I use tilapia???

Paula said...

Can this be made ahead, refrigerated and then put in the oven 1/2hr or so before guests arrive?

Reynaldo Santos said...

Hi chef my name is Reynaldo i am from Puerto Rico i made the recipe and it came out perfect thank you i hope to see more recipes.

Toshiko Suisei said...

Hi Chef John, I keep coming back to this video recipe - want to try it by haven't yet because of availability of salt cod. "'Round here" salt cod is practically a complete unknown lol. On the occasion my eyes come across it while perusing recipes online, I am always reminded of the movie Babette's Feast. It's one of my favorite foodie movies; hope you've seen it!