Versions of this dish are eaten anywhere you’ll find salt cod – France, Portugal, Spain, Greece. Trickier to get hold of in the UK, this recipe uses fresh cod tails or any white flaky fish resulting in a lighter finish and saving days of soaking time. Serves at least 6 for a starter or lunch with plenty left over for later.
1kg boned and skinned cod fillet (tails and non-prime pieces)
2 tablespoons Maldon salt flakes
1 white onion, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
7 garlic gloves, smashed
300ml good olive oil
350ml double cream
In a non-metallic bowl, mix together the salt and the cod pieces, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight or for at least 12 hours.
Drain the cod and in a fresh bowl, cover with fresh water and leave to soak for 1 hour.
Drain again. Place the cod in a pan with the onion and bay leaves. Cover with water and heat slowly and gently on the hob until the water starts to give a good belch. Add a glass of cold water, remove from the heat and leave for 5 minutes. Drain the fish discarding the onion and bay leaves and leave to cool slightly.
In a medium sauce pan, place the garlic cloves, olive oil and double cream. Heat very slowly to allow the garlic to infuse and watch carefully that it doesn’t boil over.
Use a food processor with the regular blade. Scoop out the garlic cloves from the oil and cream and place in the processor with the cod. Pulse blitz a few times. Next add half of the oil and cream mixture and blitz. With the motor running, gradually pour in the rest of the mix until fully combined. Try not to over blitz as the brandade should keep some texture.
Best served at room temperature with crusty bread, tapenade, Kalamata olives and fresh parsley, but is also great with pickles, crudites and fried or boiled new potatoes.
150g Kalamata olives, pitted
6 anchovy fillets
50g lilliput capers
6 cloves garlic
150ml extra virgin olive oil
Use a food processor. Blitz the olives, anchovy fillets, lilliput capers and garlic cloves to a coarse paste. With the motor running, gradually add the oil to form a thick paste.