This dish, based on the provençale classic, is even better when made with fish you’ve salted yourself. We used stripey trumpeter, lightly cured for a few days, which is quite different to the heavily salt-cured cod traditionally used in this dish. The soaking and cooking of the fish will differ accordingly. Use your taste as a guide as to how much salt is a good thing.
- 300 g skinless stripey trumpeter
- fine sea salt, for sprinkling
- 500 g red skinned potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 500 ml (2 cups) milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- crusty bread, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Salting time overnight or up to 3 days
Soaking time 4 hours
Place the fish in a small ceramic container, sprinkle all over with salt, then cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. Rinse the salt well and soak in cold water for 4 hours, changing the water once.
Place the potato in a saucepan, add enough water to just cover, then simmer until tender. There’s no need to add salt to the water as the fish will give the dish all the saltiness it needs.
Meanwhile, place the fish in a small saucepan with the milk and bay leaf. Bring to a gentle simmer over low heat and cook for 10 minutes or just until the fish flakes easily. Drain the fish and reserve the milk.
Drain the potato and return to the pan. Mash with enough of the reserved milk to make a nice soft mash. Flake the fish, then add to the mash with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and combine well. Spoon the warm brandade into a dish, then drizzle with the remaining oil. Serve with chunks of bread for dipping in.
• To make a traditional brandade, use dried salt cod, which will need to be soaked overnight, in a couple of changes of cold water to remove some of the salt.
This recipe is from Gourmet Farmer Afloat.