Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Salt Cod Brandade (Dairy-free)

I’m writing from Baltimore, MD this week, where I’m stationed for an 8-day work trip. Usually I’m only gone a few days at a time, but this is one of our bigger events, so it’s a long haul. So long, in fact, that I actually unpacked most of my clothes into hotel storage (which I never do),  and am getting to know the city. Baltimore is a really interesting place, home to a really cool ball park, a good friend of mine, some really diverse neighborhoods, and some amazing restaurants. The food scene here is unexpectedly awesome, and I’ve had the true pleasure of enjoying some pretty great meals since arriving. While I’m not sure my pants can stand many more of these indulgent meals, I’m going to carry home some pretty delicious memories, and some epic food photos!

Before I came to Baltimore, I had a chance to try out something totally different (for me) in the kitchen, which was to create a recipe with salt cod. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you probably wouldn’t ever expect to see a recipe starring salt cod. While I do love fish, it’s not something I typically blog about, but when given the chance to try some Cristobal brand salt cod, I couldn’t say no!

Salt Cod Brandade - Sweetly Serendipity

Until a couple weeks ago, I’d certainly consumed salt cod (mostly in fritter form), but hadn’t ever worked with it myself. As the name suggests, it’s super salty, and needs to be soaked for many hours before it’s usable. When I was trying to figure out what type of recipe to create with it, I immediately considered fritters, but decided to try something a bit more outside the box.

Salt Cod Brandade - Sweetly Serendipity

Since my funky diet ended, I’ve still noticed a sensitivity to dairy, so I knew I wanted to make something dairy-free. I’d found a few salt cod brandade recipes, but they all called for a lot of dairy (usually half and half), so I kept looking. But shortly after I started my search, I found a recipe for cashew cream, which the blogger mentioned she’d used as a half and half replacement – exactly what I was looking for! So I decided to concoct a dairy-free Salt Cod Brandade, using cashew cream as the dairy component. Lemme tell you – it turned out great!

Salt Cod Brandade - Sweetly Serendipity

Salt cod, once soaked and prepared for use, is pretty mildly flavored, and none too salty at all. It has a nice, mild flavor without being overly fishy. I actually found it to be totally approachable and delicious. This recipe is really straight forward, though I did find myself with about a million dishes when all was said and done, and it takes a bit of pre-planning to get the fish soaked and ready to use the night before. I recommend serving it with toast points or your favorite crackers, but can’t deny using a fork with it one night to steal bites before dinner 🙂

Salt Cod Post

Ingredients

  • 1 pound salt cod (I used Cristobal brand)
  • 1/2 pound yukon gold potatoes
  • 5 whole cloves garlic, plus 2 minced cloves garlic, divided
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream (or half and half if you prefer dairy)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Chopped chives, for garnish
  • Crackers or toast points, for serving

Directions

  1. Rinse salt cod thoroughly, then transfer to a large bowl or container, and cover the salt cod completely with fresh cold water. Refrigerate for 24 hours, changing out the water a few times throughout. (This will help to remove much of the salt!)
  2. Quarter your potatoes (or cut into even chunks if different sizes), place them in a saucepan with cold water, and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until totally fork tender, then strain and mash. You can also run them through a food mill or potato ricer, but I prefer to keep my branded a bit more "rustic" with the potato skins in the mix. Set aside.
  3. Drain the salt cod, and place in a medium saucepan. Cover again with cold water, then add 5 whole garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and a single bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the fish sit for 20 more minutes.
  4. Drain the salt cod again, reserving the garlic, and discarding the thyme and bay leaf. Remove any visible bones and silvery skin, then flake the salt cod. For tougher pieces of fish (I had one of these), feel free to chop coarsely with a chef's knife before proceeding.
  5. Add the salt cod to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a deep bowl with a hand mixer. Add the 2 cloves of minced garlic and the potato, and mix on low just to combine. Add the olive oil and beat on low-medium until lighter and fluffier, then add the cashew cream and lemon juice and zest, and mix again until well incorporated. Transfer brandade to a serving platter, and garnish with freshly chopped chives. Serve with toast points or your favorite crackers, either at room temperature, or warmed in the oven at 350 degrees until toasty (about 10 minutes).
http://www.sweetlyserendipity.com/savory/salt-cod-brandade-dairy-free/

You can learn more about this salt cod and other cured fish products by following along with the CFE social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Want to try some Salt Cod of your own? You can find the Cristobal brand that I used here at the following store locations: Americas Food Basket, Big Y, Costco Everett , Hannaford Bros., H Mart, Market Basket, Price Chopper, Price Rite, Russos, Shaws, Stop&Shop, and Tropical Foods!




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