Serves: 3-4 - Time:
There is already a recipe for the classic brandade on my website but salt cod is not easy to find, added to which it has a strong fishy flavour which is not everybody’s cup of tea. This, I suppose, is an anglicised version, milder in flavour but no less delicious. Do try and get the undyed smoked haddock fillets. If you can’t find quail eggs you could top the brandade with a soft-boiled (or poached) hen’s egg.
- 550g skinless, undyed smoked haddock fillets
- 270ml milk
- 100ml double cream
- 2 bay leaves
- 12 black peppercorns
- 700g potatoes, peeled and cut into 4cm pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Put the smoked haddock fillets into a saucepan and pour over the milk and cream. Add the bay leaves and peppercorns and place over a moderate heat. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 2 minutes. Take off the heat and leave the fish in the liquid until cold. Lift the fish out of the cooking liquor and flake into a bowl. Remove the bay leaves and peppercorns and reserve the liquor.
- Meanwhile you can cook the potatoes: put them in a saucepan of salted water and add the whole garlic cloves. Bring to the boil and cook for about 20 minutes until cooked through. Drain well and mash the potatoes along with the garlic. You can use a potato ricer if you prefer. Beat about half of the reserved cooking liquor from the fish into the mashed potatoes.
- Mix in half of the fish. Put the remainder in the small bowl of a food processor and blend. With the motor running drizzle in the olive oil and enough cooking liquor to make a thick purée. Fold into the potato mixture and add the herbs. Taste and season with salt and ground black pepper and the lemon juice.
- Heat the oven to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚c, mark 6. Spoon the brandade into an ovenproof dish and heat in the oven for 20 minutes until piping hot and slightly golden around the edges.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and add the quail eggs. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh the eggs under cold water. Carefully peel off the shells. Just before serving cut the eggs in half and arrange over the brandade. Serve with green salad and fried bread.