Probably the most famous of all salt cod dishes is brandade de morue, the great Provençal purée that tempers the saltiness of the dish with potatoes, milk, and olive oil.
1 pound salt cod
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
10 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
5 cups water
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 baking potatoes, peeled
1/4 cup Provençal olive oil
1/2 cup warm milk
lemon juice to taste
white pepper to taste
1. In a large bowl cover the dried cod with cold water and let soak 12 to 48 hours (depending on saltiness of cod), changing the water frequently.
2. In a medium saucepan combine the fennel seeds, peppercorns, bay leaves, and water. Smash 2 of the garlic cloves and add. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Strain the liquid into a saucepan through a fine sieve and set aside to cool.
3. Remove the cod from its soaking water and place it in cooled broth. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the cod and reserve.
4. Cook the potatoes in the broth in a saucepan over moderately high heat until they are soft, about 20 minutes.
5. Add the reserved cod and the potatoes to the work bowl of a food processor. Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves and add. With the machine running, add the olive oil and warm milk in a stream. Process until the brandade has the consistency of mashed potatoes (try to accomplish this as quickly as possible). If the brandade seems too thick, add a little more warm milk or poaching liquid.
6. Season the brandade with the lemon juice and white pepper. Serve immediately or let come to room temperature.
Probably the most famous of all salt cod dishes is brandade de morue, the great Provençal purée that tempers the saltiness of the dish with potatoes, milk, and olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature as a dip for garlicky toasts, or as a scoop atop a Provençal-flavored salad. We discovered that drizzling white truffle oil over brandade adds a little delicious luxury to this traditional peasant dish. Makes 2 cups