Brandade De Morue

James Beard

Author and Educator

Drying and salting codfish is a method of preserving cod, usually credited to Basque fisherman, who often sailed out far from their own waters. You can find the flat, board-like product whitened with salt in ethnic grocery stores. Once softened in water, it has a lovely mild taste. Although brandade is regarded as a traditional French provençale dish, its popularity extends throughout the Mediterranean.


  • 1 lb. salt cod
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • Toast triangles fried in olive oil


Soak codfish in a large basin of water for several hours, or up to twenty-four. Rinse the piece to eliminate excess salt and place in a large saucepan with cold water to cover. You may have to cut it into several large pieces to fit it in the pan. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Do not boil. Drain the fish and shred it very fine, removing any bits of bone.

Heat the olive oil and the cream in separate small saucepans until they are warm, but not hot. Crush the garlic, either with a mortar and pestle, or in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cod and process until it is very fine and resembles paste.

Remove the mixture and put it in a heavy saucepan over very low heat. Stir with a fork. Add the olive oil and cream alternately and work them both in well. Continue until all the oil and cream are absorbed and the mixture has the consistency of mashed potatoes. Season with pepper; salt will be unnecessary.

To serve, heap the brandade in the center of a serving dish and surround it with fried toast triangles.


8 to 10 servings as an appetizer