The traditional Brandade de Morue originated in the town of Nîmes, a popular destination in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. The refined Nîmes version of the salt cod - or baccalao - Brandade is made with aioli sauce and usually complemented with a leafy salad and garlic toasts, to fully enjoy the typical aromas of the Southern France food and gastronomy.
This typical fish dish from Languedoc-Roussillon, made of a refined salt cod puree, is also known as "Cod Brandade". This Southern French speciality received its name from the Provençal word "brandado", meaning "things stirred". Indeed, the Brandade's success is mainly based on a very prolonged stirring of the ingredients.
The original Brandade cooking was first introduced into the Southern France gastronomy in 1786, when a fish lover from Nîmes decided to mash salt cod's flesh with garlic, olive oil and a touch of milk or cream. This refined recipe of Brandade de Morue only became a great success in 1830 thanks to the renowned French cook Durand.
The modern recipe of the Cod Brandade includes a fine potato puree that tops a layer of mashed salt cod. Cooks in the South of France ususally serve this delightful rich dish on its own, with a simple green salad and toasts, crackers or, for a really authentic meal, croutons fried in olive oil.
Nevertheless, cooking the salt cod in a puff pastry or to accompany the Brandade with truffles (especially in Nîmes) or lemon juice (in Provence) is now a must in the French Gastronomy. The French Brandade preparation can also make a fine and tasty ravioli stuffing.
Top Tip! For those who would like to cook the Brandade de Morue using salt cod, you may let the bacalao fish desalting for 2-3days and then soak it for 2-3 days to make the flavour become milder.
The renowned Brandade de Nîmes salt cod puree was traditionally mixed by hand but modern housewives now prefer to use an electric mixer to go faster!
As far as the garlic seasoning is concerned, the recipe is proper to the Provence region and dates back to the 18th century. This tasty garlic and olive oil mayonnaise was then widely consumed, offering to Languedoc Roussillon inhabitants a great way to complement the salt cod - almost the only water fish readily available in the region at that time.