Ah, Brandade - what a delight! From its humble beginnings as a humble concoction of mashed salt cod and mashed potatoes, made to feed the destitute and malnourished masses in 19th-century France, this delicacy has become something entirely different. This delectable dish, now a treat for anyone with a taste for something unique, is still incredibly popular throughout Europe, especially in French and Spanish restaurants.


To make brandade, the cod is first soaked in water or milk overnight to reduce the fish’s saltiness. The softened cod is then mashed together with boiled potatoes and flavoured with olive oil, garlic, and perhaps a hint of cream. This mash is then shaped into rounds, sprinkled with breadcrumbs, and shallow-fried until golden and crispy.

The resulting brandade is a tantalising fusion of flavours - the cod’s subtle saltiness is balanced with the sweetness of the potatoes, while the oil and garlic add a layer of pungent aromatic complexity. The breadcrumbs give a nice crunchy exterior, while the creamy centre ensures that the interior is no less interesting.

Although it is popular throughout Europe, Brandade has become a go-to dish for South American countries as well. Brazilians especially have adopted the dish, and added their own twist to it. Depending on the region, you might find Brandade with a little chopped parsley or chives stirred in, or even with a smattering of cumin.

Brandade is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in a variety of settings. It makes an ideal appetiser, served with a side of crusty bread, or can easily be transformed into a main course by including some sides such as boiled carrots, sautéed spinach, and a dollop of sour cream.

No matter how you choose to serve it, Brandade is sure to tantalise your taste buds and fill your stomach with joy. From its humble roots to the delicious morsel we now know, Brandade is a savoury delight that is here to stay.

Brandade recipes

Amazing Brandade recipes sourced from the web.

The origin of Brandade

Brandade is a magical, smoky concoction of salted cod and fragrant garlic that has delighted taste buds since the early 15th century. The origin of Brandade is said to be steeped in both culinary and political significance, as it is believed to have been introduced to France by the Spanish during the reign of King Louis XIV.

This flavourful dish was not only a way for the Spanish to establish their presence as new conquerors, but also to give French and Basque sailors a taste of home while they were away at sea. Thus, Brandade quickly became a beloved staple of French and Iberian cuisine, with its unique combination of textures, aromas and flavours.

The name of this robust delicacy, however, is somewhat of a mystery. There are several theories about its nomenclature; some believe it derives from the Provençal word ‘brandad’ which means ‘embers’ - a reference to the smoky taste of the salted cod. Others believe that it is related to the Latin verb ‘brandire’ which means ‘to flash’ and refers to the bright colours of the dish when served. What is certain is that it was embraced by French chefs and has been a favourite ever since.

It is believed that the French developed their own version of the brandade over time - one incorporating additional ingredients such as cream, milk, nutmeg and even egg yolks. This variation, known as La Brandade de Nîmes, is now the most popular recipe in France and can be found on menus all over the world.

Today, Brandade is enjoyed in many different forms. From crispy to creamy, gratinéed to puréed, it is a versatile dish that can be adapted to every palate. Whether you like yours mild or spicy, with herbs or without, full-bodied or light, Brandade is sure to delight. So, the next time you find yourself craving something sultry, smoky and unique, why not give Brandade a try?

FAQs about Brandade

What does bacalao taste like?

Bacalao is a salted, dried fish that has been popular in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America for centuries. It has a strong, salty flavor and can be flaky when cooked. The taste of Bacalao can vary depending on how it is prepared, with some versions being smoked, fried, or boiled.

What does salt cod taste like?

Salt cod has a rich, meaty flavor with a slightly salty taste. It is often described as having a slight brininess and a mild sweetness.

What is salted cod called?

Salted cod is also known as bacalao or bacalhau.

What is the meaning of brandade?

Brandade is a dish consisting of salt cod that has been poached and then mashed into a purée with olive oil, garlic, and milk. It is often served as a spread on toast points or crackers.

Types of Brandade

Brandade, a classic French dish, has become an essential addition to many traditional meals. While the base of the dish remains the same - flavored salt cod with potatoes - the dish has taken many different forms throughout the centuries. From its original roots in the South of France to its modern incarnations around the world, brandade is a versatile dish that can easily be adapted to suit any cuisine.

The most classic version of brandade is often called "à la Nîmoise." It is made with salt cod and cooked potatoes that have been mashed together with garlic, olive oil and cream. This version of the dish is typically served with a salad or as an accompaniment to roasted vegetables.

In Spain, an iteration of brandade is known as "bacalao al pil-pil" (or bacalao a la vizcaína). Here, salt cod is mixed with chopped pepper, garlic and olive oil until it reaches a creamy consistency. This mixture is then slowly cooked in a shallow pan until the fat from the olive oil starts to separate. As it cooks, a "pillowy" layer of fat forms on top of the dish, making it both rich and creamy.

Italy has its own version of brandade called "buridda," which is made with salt cod and potatoes combined with anchovy and parsley. This dish is typically served with grilled vegetables, fried eggs or sautéed greens.

In India, brandade is a popular street food. Here, it is known as "batata bhajia." The cod and potato mixture is mixed with turmeric, cumin, ginger, green chili and garlic, before being deep-fried in oil. This version of the dish is served with fried onions and chutney.

With so many variations of brandade, it's easy to see why this timeless classic has stood the test of time. Whether it's served with a salad or as part of a full meal, this dish offers a delicious way to enjoy salt cod. For those who want to try something new, brandade is a great place to start.