I salt my own cod, mainly because I can’t get hold of salt cod in this neck of the woods. It is very easy but you need to start preparing a couple of days in advance. The cod is salted for 24 hours and then soaked in water for 24 hours. For me this dish is the ultimate comfort food-just as good as a classic fish pie.
- 175g coarse sea salt
- 500g chunky cod loin, skinless
- 500ml milk
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 650g potatoes e.g. Rooster
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Spread half the salt over the base of a glass or ceramic dish. Lay the cod on top and cover with the remaining salt. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 24 hours.
- Rinse off all the salt under cold running water then leave the cod to soak in cold water for a further 24 hours, changing the water once or twice during this time.
- Pour off the water and place the cod in a sauté pan. Pour in the milk and add the bay leaf, peppercorns and thyme. Slowly bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave for about 30 minutes to cool down. Lift out the cod and flake into a mixing bowl. Stir in the parsley. Pour the milk through a sieve and discard the herbs and peppercorns. Reserve the milk for the potatoes.
- Boil the potatoes with the garlic cloves in lightly salted water for 12-15 minutes until cooked through. Drain well and mash. Beat in as much of the reserved milk as you need to make a sloppy purée. Stir in the flaked cod and olive oil and season with ground black pepper. Heat the oven to 180˚c, fan oven 160˚c, gas mark 4. Spoon the brandade into an ovenproof dish and bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes until golden. Serve with fried bread triangles and a green salad on the side.