I am always cooking something, and rarely do I follow a recipe. I like to create my own. Hence, why I am in culinary school. I find my inspiration by studying cookbooks, perusing recipes from chefs I admire, and reading food memoirs. A light is always shining brightly in my head whenever I’m deep into a cookbook, twisting ideas around to make a dish work for me. This dish took 2 days in the making. I balance working as a server at a restaurant, cooking school, spending time with my husband, making time for friends and time to work on this project. Not to mention cooking, eating, reading, and writing for pleasure. It’s a chaotic juggle sometimes. But I love it! Here you’ll find a roughly drafted recipe of this dish, in which I hope to come back to it and refine it so that you can recreate it at home. Brooklyn, EAT your heart out!
Salt Cod Brandade with Baked Eggs
- 1/2 lb of dried salt cod, rehydrated
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, rough dice
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1 large russet potato, large dice
- 2 cloves of Russian Purple garlic, thinly sliced
- olive oil
- canola oil
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/2 tbsp sour cream
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of cayenne
- pinch of lemon zest
- salt & pepper to taste
Rehydrate the salt cod in cold water in a bowl. Leave in the fridge overnight. I did this for two days, changing the water once and switching to almond milk for the last night. Please note, you don’t have to do this for two days as it will dramatically reduce the salt content. I wanted a less salty brandade, which is why I soaked it longer. When ready to cook, remove the salt cod from the bowl and begin to shred it into pieces into a colander so that any remaining liquid strains. Keep aside in a colander with a bowl underneath to catch any liquid. Rough chop the onion and sauté in a skillet in canola oil, just until it starts to get some color – not looking for caramelization, just softened onions with a little crisp. Add the salt cod and now you’re just looking to get it hot. This should take no more than 5 minutes. In the meantime, dice the potato into medium to large chunks and boil in salted water for 15 minutes, or until you can crush easily with a fork. Strain and set aside. You do not need to reserve any of the cooking liquid. Now in a large cast iron skillet on low heat, sauté two cloves of thinly sliced Russian Purple garlic in a generous amount of olive oil. Keep this on low heat so that the garlic really infiltrates and infuses the olive oil. A wonderful aroma of garlic should fill up your house. Pay careful attention to not brown the garlic. There shouldn’t be any color, so if you start to see it brown, turn off the heat and let it sit in the oil for 10 – 15 minutes. This would be a good time to preheat the oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit. Now, with the skillet still on low heat, add the potatoes to the garlic infused olive oil, crushing the potatoes gently into the garlic cloves with a wooden spoon. Add the salt cod and onion mixture. Mix everything together with your wooden spoon and drizzle a small amount of heavy cream over the top, less then 2 tablespoons. Add 1/2 tablespoon of sour cream. Thoroughly mix everything together, tasting as you go. Add a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of lemon zest, and a sprinkle of cayenne. Mix, taste, adjust seasonings as needed. When you’re satisfied with how your brandade tastes, sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and with your wooden spoon, make 5 small holes over the top, drizzle a small amount of olive oil into the holes, then crack an egg into each hole. Sprinkle the eggs lightly with salt and a touch of any remaining breadcrumbs. Put skillet in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes, depending on how runny you like your eggs. When finished, take the brandade out of the oven. Add a dash of cayenne for color and extra heat, and garnish with a few parsley leaves. Serve with crusty bread.