Brandade noun: Originating from the south-central French regions of Languedoc and Provence, brandade is a simple, yet hearty spread made of salt cod, olive oil, and milk. Sometimes garlic or potatoes are added. It's served warm on slices of crusty, rustic bread with a green salad. There are similar versions of brandade in the other Mediterranean countries where salt cod is a staple, such as Spain and Italy.
1/2 lb (8 oz.) salt cod, dried
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: lemon juice and/or fresh parsley
Day before, in a ceramic or glass bowl, let the salt cod soak in cold water to cover, changing the water several times. Drain after 24 hours. Make sure there are no bones in the fish and trim off any skin. Poach the cod in simmering water to cover for 25 minutes, or until it flakes easily when tested with a fork. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Break up the cod in several pieces.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a food processor or blender, puree the cod with the olive oil and cream added in thin streams. Add salt and pepper to your taste. If desired, you can also add 1 clove of pressed garlic to the food processor. Add the mixture to a small ramekin or baking dish and heat in the oven for 20 minutes, or until nice and bubbly.
Serve with pieces of toasted rustic bread and a salad of bitter greens such as arugula. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice and sprinkle with a little fresh chopped parsley if you like.
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