This variation on classic brandade is made with a 24-hour salted fresh cod preparation. If you like your brandade chunky, then set aside a third of the cooked potatoes and mash them in at the end. For a richer version add 2 tablespoons of cream.
Brandade can be served either cold or warmed, but do warm the olives. They can be heated together in a 400-degree oven for service. Accompany with grilled rustic bread.
Makes about 3 1/2 cups (30 ounces wt.), about 6 appetizer portions
3/4 pound Alaska Cod, cut into thick, 2-ounce slices
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
3 cups whole milk
2 bay leaves
1 allspice berry, crushed
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 cup diced white onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks (about 14 ounces, 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sprinkle cod with salt and pepper. Place in a perforated pan or colander and let sit, refrigerate covered, for 24 hours.
Combine milk, bay leaves, allspice, thyme, onion, and garlic in a saucepan, and heat to a low simmer; do not boil. Add cod and poach until very tender, about 4 to 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove cod to a sheet pan. Remove any bones. (Keep milk mixture hot as you will cook the potatoes in it.)
Bring milk back to a simmer and add potatoes. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain in a fine strainer, keeping garlic and onion with potatoes. Discard bay leaves. (Reserve some of the cooking liquid to add later.)
While potatoes are still hot, place them in a mixer with a paddle attachment. Add cod, and mix on medium-high speed. Drizzle in olive oil. If you desire a more moist brandade, add a little of the reserved cooking liquid. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve either hot or cold. If heating, place about 4-5 ounces of the brandade in a ramekin or heat-proof serving dish and bake in a 400-degree F oven for about 10 minutes or until heated through.
Warm Citrus Olives
Makes about 3 cups
1 tablespoon minced orange zest
1 tablespoon minced lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
3 cups (about 1 lb) mixed imported olives, such as Castelvetrano , Kalamata and other imported olives
Mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate. Marinate for at least 24 hours before serving.
For service: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place 1/2 cup olive mixture in an ovenproof skillet or ramekin. Bake the olives for about 10 to 12 minutes or until hot.
Makes 1 drink
1/2 clementine or mandarin
1 ounce gin
1 ounce vodka
1 ounce Lillet blanc
Garnish: fat lemon peel twist
Squeeze and drop clementine into a mixing glass. Measure in gin, vodka, and Lillet. Fill with ice, cap, and shake. Double-strain into a Martini or coupe glass. Twist lemon peel over cocktail and then drop into drink.