Brandade de Morue au Gratin – Day 3 of the 12 Days of Canapés – 2012

Brandade de Morue au Gratin with Garlic Toasts

So many hors d’oeuvres tend to be last minute affairs. Assembling a tray of canapés moments before your guests arrive, no matter how small the group, can be a bit stressful.  When planning your party menu it is always a good idea to have at least of couple items that can be made ahead without a lot of last minute fussing.

Here is where this brandade de morue au gratin comes in. Morue is the french word for salt cod (the Spanish call it bacalao) and brandade refers to an emulsion of salt cod and olive oil. This is a dish eaten, generally in winter, in the South of France and all over the Mediterranean with bread or potatoes.

There are plenty of variations to this dish, some regions add boiled potatoes in with the salt cod and oil, others add garlic and/or artichokes or chestnuts and/or milk. Generally the salt cod is first soaked, (for 24 to 48 hours to remove the excess salt) then cooked and then simply mashed into the other ingredients.

This recipe, by venerable chef Jacques Pépin, calls for processing the ingredients in a food processor until they are silky smooth, topping the brandade with a bit of Parmesan and then baking in the oven until golden brown. It can be assembled and refrigerated for up to 3 days ahead! Once baked, the result is a luxurious gratin, made from very modest ingredients, that is perfect for holiday entertaining…

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5 Responses to Brandade de Morue au Gratin – Day 3 of the 12 Days of Canapés – 2012

  1. Lesley says:

    Sounds wonderful and I would love to try it but I’m wondering how much salt cod is required. I read the recipe through several times and couldn’t see any amount given. Also, where do you find it in Vancouver? Thanks, really enjoy your blog and your photos on Instagram.

    • Hi Lesley. Wow, that is quite something when you omit the main ingredient! Thanks for the heads up, I have inserted the proper amount for the salt cod. I get mine just down the street at Norman’s Fruit and Salad which is right on the corner of Commercial Drive and Graveley (one block north of 1st Ave). They charge $9.99 per pound. Thanks for taking the time to write and for the kind words…

  2. Sark says:

    Do you think pecorino would taste good as a substitute for the Parmesan or would it be too salty or off somehow?

  3. Mack says:

    Hi! I just tried this recipe and I think I gaffed it. I believe that I followed it to the letter but when I added the oil and tried it before baking, I found it to be very bitter! I decided to follow through and add the parmigian cheese and baked it. Then end result looked good (it smelled fishy but hey that comes with the territory) but the bitterness remained and I just couldn’t bring myself to serve it.

    Did I screw up or was this just not to my taste?

    • Hello! I have made this dish a number of times and have never found it to be bitter. I do know that salted cod can vary greatly and so I wonder if perhaps you got a piece that was less than stellar? It is also important to take the time to soak the fish. This recipe calls for soaking the fish in water which is changed 4 times over 24 hours. If the salted cod does smell especially “fishy” I will often substitute milk for the water. This will really mellow out the fishy/saltiness of the fish. I am going to re-test this recipe and make sure the results are exactly as I remember and have posted. I will email you directly when I do. Nothing more disheartening than making a dish and not loving the outcome! I so appreciate you taking the time to write and share your feedback. xo J

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