Brandade de Morue (salt cod) is a speciality of Nimes and takes its name from the Provençal word "brandado", meaning "things stirred". Brandade is a purée of salt cod and the original recipe is very time consuming but it has been refined over the years.
Salt cod dates back to Medieval times and one of the earlies methods of preserving food under salt. Today most French people buy brandade ready-made and "semi-conserved" in glass jars. Brandade is often used as a filling for vol-au-vents or is spread on toast but it is usually served with a green salad or as a gratin in France.
Nîmes was a major port in the 18th century and it's thought that Brandade was invented there as cod was being caught off Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland by northern fishermen who needed to have salt aboard their ships in order to preserve the freshly caught fish.
Brandade de Morue de Nîmes
2 lbs of salt cod
2 cups of olive oil
1 cup of milk
juice of one lemon
1 clove garlic, grated
pinch white pepper
The day before cut the cod evenly into a number of squares, put in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Change the water several times during the next 24 hours.
Poach the cod. When it is cool, carefully remove all the bones and reduce the flesh to small shreds. Heat the milk in a pan. Heat the oil in a separate pan. Using a food processor, blend the cod and half the warm oil. Mix carefully until the oil is absorbed and there are no lumps of fish. Without stopping the mixing process, began to alternatively add the oil and then the milk, using no more than a half teaspoonful at a time. Mix well after each addition. When the mixture is very creamy it can be seasoned with the lemon juice, garlic, nutmeg and white pepper.