|Image © ristocasaebottega.it
The birthplace of this preparation is however disputed. Some say Nîmes in France is the world capital of brandade, while others in the Veneto region maintain "baccalà mantecato" came first. But my Ligurian friends declare their "brandacujùn", made with dried cod instead of salt cod, is the culinary ancestor of this delightful recipe.
Whatever the genesis, I love the pillowy combination of cod and potatoes, and enjoy it often smeared on crusty bread that's been generously rubbed with garlic. The flavor is delicate and the texture creamy, and I serve it to those guests who are worried about fish tasting too... "fishy".
|dried cod from Lofoten Islands, Norway
But before we talk leftovers, here's how to make easy brandade from scratch:
1kg (2.2 lbs) dried cod (I buy the Norwegian "Ragno" variety), soaked and rinsed until fully revived
1kg (2.2 lbs) peeled potatoes
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of nutmeg (optional)
Cover the cod in unsalted water and boil for 30 minutes. Lift out of the pot and allow it to cool before deboning, but save the cooking water for the potatoes.
Boil the potatoes in the cod water and when they are fork soft, add them to the deboned cod.
Now you can proceed in two ways: a quick and easy one, or the original method, which is more labor intensive.
Easy method (the one I use): Coarsely blend everything in a stand mixer, adding the minced garlic while pouring the olive oil, and finishing with a lashing of pepper and seasoning with salt at the very end if necessary.
Original method: Cover the pot and, armed with hefty kitchen towels and good muscles, shake the pot (the French term 'brandade' and the verb "to brandish" share the same root) until the ingredients are reduced to a soft emulsion!
Stay tuned for the leftover recycling recipe!