Fresh cod brandade is similar to classic salt cod brandade but made with the easier-to-find kind of cod, simmered in a mixture of cream and milk, and stirred into mashed potatoes. Quicker than tradition yet just as satisfying.
It’s believed that brandade, or cod and potato purée, originated in the town of Nîmes, France. Traditionally it’s made with dry, salted cod. This lighter, more delicate version is perfect with garlic toasts and a leafy salad.–Editors of Cook’s Illustrated
☞ Table of Contents
Fresh Cod Brandade
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 4 medium garlic cloves minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 3 anchovy fillets minced fine
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 pound cod skinned and cut into 5 by 2-inch (13-by 5-cm) pieces
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
- 4 tablespoons parsley
For the garlic toasts
- 8 slices rustic bread each about 1/2-inch thick (or substitute matzoh if keeping kosher for Passover)
- 1 medium garlic clove peeled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Make the brandade
- In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, anchovies, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until the salt dissolves.
- Add the cod and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer until the fish flakes apart easily, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a bowl and reserve.
- Add the potatoes to the cream mixture and bring the liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring often, until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and discard the bay leaves and thyme. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes and the cream mixture until smooth.
- Gently fold 3 tablespoons parsley and the reserved cod into the potatoes, trying to keep the flakes of cod intact if desired. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the garlic toasts
- Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until dry and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through baking.
- While still hot, rub each slice of bread with the raw garlic clove and drizzle with the olive oil. Serve hot or warm.
Serve the brandade
- Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley. Serve immediately with the garlic toasts.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I have been curious about brandade for a while and now I am so glad to have tried this dish from Provence! Picture a glass of crisp white wine, crunchy garlic toast, and a bowl of beautiful warm, creamy potatoes and fresh cod. Just a hint of thyme and a bolder hit of garlic.
This is a straightforward recipe with easy-to-find ingredients and clear instructions. One pot and about 30 minutes are all you need to make this amazing dish.
This dish turned out quite good. Super easy and tasty. The result was a satisfying spread that tastes and looks like something much more complicated. Surprisingly, it was perfect served warm. Not at all fishy or too rich.
I had some leftover and ate it the next day cold. The spread was noticeably saltier the next day.
This version of cod brandade is delicious. As a meal finished with a salad, it’s very satisfying. I think it could easily be a hot appetizer as well by serving it on smaller toasts or crackers.
The picture looks as though the cod was very broken up and incorporated, but the recipe directions say to try to keep the cod flakes intact. This way there are large chunks of cod in the mixture, and not a uniform spread. I think either way would still be yummy, but I liked the larger bits of fish.
A great appetizer! Although it’s normally presented as an appetizer, this brandade recipe, being lighter, may be a light meal accompanied by vegetables or a green salad. It has a soft texture, a slightly salty and buttery flavor, and a perfect touch of garlic. A very interesting version of this classic of French origin, of which there are several versions in France and Spain, namely in the Basque country and in Catalonia.
Originally published September 20, 2020