A Fresh Cod Brandade

Say what? According to wikipedia Brandade is a dish that is an emulsion of salt cod and olive oil eaten in winter with bread or potatoes. It’s typical of both France and Spain and while I can’t remember where I was the first time I ever tasted a brandade, I do have a memory of being instantly enamored with the creamy, salted fish and potato goodness.

Fresh Cod Brandade with Tarragon

The other night I had some fresh cod on hand, rather than my usual pan seared approach, I baked it and thought I’d try making my own version of a brandade. I added tarragon since the potted plant in my garden is growing like a weed, and because really I just love lemon and tarragon with fish. The result was outstanding, if I do say so myself.

The first night, Brad, Alexis and I ravenously ate the brandade with some toast and a side of grilled baby artichokes and olives. The next day Brad and I warmed it gently and simply enjoyed it on some fresh crusty bread from the greenmarket with sliced heirloom tomatoes on top.

What doesn't go well with a slice of heirloom tomato?

Fresh Cod Brandade

serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 1/2 lb fresh cod fillets
  • 1/2 pound potato, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces (I used a Yukon Gold)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 sprig tarragon, leaves plucked from the stem
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crusty bread or toasts for serving

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and place the cod, seasoned with salt and pepper, on an oiled, foil covered baking sheet. Bake until just cooked through – depending on the thickness of your fillets this might take anywhere from 7-12 minutes. Mine were done in 7, check them frequently, they’re ready when you can easily flake the fish with a fork.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the potatoes and garlic cloves until tender, about 10-15 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and tarragon over a low heat until warm and fragrant.

In a food processor, puree the cod, potatoes, garlic, cream and tarragon until very smooth. Blend in the lemon juice and additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with toasts and enjoy!

This is a great dish for entertaining, it’s easy to make, delicious and just a bit decadent. It’s a lovely appetizer, although you could certainly pair it with olives and other hearty sides like we did to make a small plate meal.

Proceed to mouth

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