Brandade is a traditional French spread made with salt cod, potatoes, garlic, olive oil and cream. It is usually served as a spread or dip, accompanied by toasted bread or baguette slices. It may also be served as a filling for savory tarts or as a topping for baked potatoes.
The dish pairs well with crisp white wines or rosé, and can be served as a starter or main course for a group of people to share.
Origin & Cultural Significance
The origins of brandade can be traced back to the Mediterranean coastal areas, where salt cod was a staple ingredient due to its long shelf life. It became popular among fishermen and sailors who had to store fish for long periods while at sea. Over time the dish made its way inland and became a specialty of the Provence and Languedoc regions of southern France.
In France, brandade is considered a comfort food; it is commonly enjoyed during the winter months, and often associated with family gatherings and festive occasions. It is also a popular dish during Lent when many Catholics traditionally abstain from meat.
Different regions in France may have their own unique twist on the dish, for instance, some recipes may incorporate other types of fish, such as fresh cod or haddock.
Branade is a traditional French spread made with salted cod or salt cod, potatoes, garlic, olive oil, and cream.
- Salted cod or salt cod fillets - 1lb
- Potatoes (peeled and diced) - 1lb
- Garlic (minced) - 4 cloves
- Olive oil - 1/2 cup
- Heavy cream - 1/4 cup
- Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- Baguette slices (for serving)
- Lemon wedges (for garnish)
- Fresh parsley (for garnish)
- Firstly, soak the salted cod in cold water overnight, changing the water a few times to remove excess salt.
- Drain the cod and place it in a large pot. Cover with fresh water and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Cook the cod for about 15-20 minutes, until the fish is tender and flakes easily. Drain and set aside.
- In a separate pot, boil the diced potatoes until tender, for about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the minced garlic and cook gently until fragrant, but not browned.
- Break the cooked cod into small flakes, make sure to remove any bones or skin. Add the flaked cod to the bowl with the potatoes.
- Pour the garlic-infused olive oil over the cod and potatoes.
- Using a fork or a potato masher, mash the mixture until well combined.
- Gradually mix in the heavy cream until it becomes smooth.
- Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Be cautious with additional salt as the cod may still retain some saltiness.
- Transfer the brandade mixture to an ovenproof dish and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden and slightly crusty.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly.
- (Optional) Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley, and serve with slices of lightly toasted baguette.