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Brandade de Cabillaud

Brandade de Cabillaud

Fishy fishy in a brook,
Daddy caught him with a hook,
Mommy fried him in a pan,
And Ginny ate it as fast as she can.

My Dad’s an avid fisherman. Any chance he gets, he goes deep-sea fishing with his buddies. And he always comes back with heaps of fish. We help him clean and gut the fish, divide them into portions. We keep a third of the catch for ourselves and deliver the rest to the old folks’ homes in the surrounding neighbourhoods. Only after the delivery, do we sit down and eat some of his catch. One of my favourites is Dad’s fried fish with spicy tomato sauce. I like it because it’s done in a flash and I’m usually famished by then.

Ben and I took a cooking class last week at L'Atelier des Chefs and we learnt an even faster way of preparing fish. Lunch was a “Brandade de Cabillaud”, which is a cod fish paste made with olive oil, milk and garlic. Traditionally, a “brandade” (brawn-dud) is made with salted morue (another type of codfish) and is a specialty from Nîmes in France.

Brandade de Cabillaud

Ingredients:

  • 800g of cabillaud or cod fish with skin intact
  • 100g of “gros sel” or cooking salt
  • 800g of charlotte potatoes or any puree potatoes
  • 15 cl of olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 litre of milk
  • 10cl of water
  • spinach or rocket leaves
  • 5 cl of olive oil
  • 3 cl of balsamic vinegar
  • Put the 100g of cooking salt on the cod fish.
    Peel the potatoes. Cut into little cubes of 1cm. Put the potatoes in a pot, cover with water and 10g of salt. Bring to boil for 10 minutes.

    Put the milk, 10cl of water, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and cod fish into a casserole.
    Bring to boil.
    Reduce to very low fire and leave the cod fish for 10 minutes in the casserole.

    Take the fish out of the casserole and place on a tray. Remove the skin from the fish and put the pieces of fish back into the casserole.
    Pour the milk mixture into a bowl. Remove the garlic and herbs.
    Drain the potatoes and put in the casserole with the fish.
    Mash the potatoes and fish with a wooden spoon and slowly add the olive oil and 80cl of milk mixture, until you get the consistency of a mashed potato puree, with small morsels of fish and potatoes.

    Dress the brandade on plates and add your salad of spinach with olive oil and balsamic dressing.

    Postscript: My French aunt tells me that the traditional "Brandade de Morue" is not made with potatoes, but with salted cod fish, olive oil, garlic and crème fraîche. You can use the the same quantities in the recipe I listed and mix the fish with 15cl of sour cream or crème fraîche. It would be a thick fish paste.

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