Brandade

Hot Dried Cod Mousse

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • For

    6

    People

Appears in

The Cuisine of the Sun

By Mireille Johnston

Published 1990

  • About

This dish is part of the traditional “lean dinner” on Christmas Eve. The delicious, fluffy mixture is served warm in a thin puff pastry shell called vol-au-vent or garnished with crisp croutons and truffles; or served cold, simply stuffed in tomato halves and garnished with little black olives.

Traditionally, the cod was crushed in a marble mortar with the milk and oil to form a smooth paste, which became creamy-white when heated. I use an electric blender—a much quicker and simpler process, which charcuteries always favor!

Serve this mousse with a tart salad of arugula, dandelion, or watercress.

Ingredients

  • pounds dried cod
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 potato, boiled and quartered
  • 1 cup milk at room temperature
  • 1 cup olive oil at room temperature
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • freshly ground white pepper
  • salt (may not be needed)

Method

Let the cod soak overnight in the sink or a large basin of cold water. Change the water four to five times. Taste a bit of cod to check if it has desalted enough.

When the cod has been adequately soaked, place it on a board. Remove the skin, bones, and all the loose pieces with your hands and a small, sharp knife. Then place the cod flesh in a pan of cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Just as the water starts to simmer, remove from the fire and let it cool. Drain.

Peel the garlic cloves and crush with a press into the blender. With your hands, flake the fish in small pieces into the blender. Add the potato and pour in ½ cup milk and ½ cup olive oil. Turn to low speed for 1 minute. Stop and stir with a long-handled wooden spoon. Blend for 2 more minutes at high speed. Put the blender on low and slowly but steadily start pouring in alternately the rest of the milk and oil, stopping from time to time to stir with the spoon. This blending should take about 8 minutes.

When all the milk and oil are incorporated, blend at high speed for 2 minutes. The paste will be fluffy and white and quite smooth. Spoon it into a pot. Add the lemon juice, nutmeg, and pepper. Taste before adding any salt. Cook over a low flame, stirring gently, for 5 minutes or until just warm.