CATEGORIES: Baking, Breakfast, Beef, Chicken, Fish, Lamb, Pasta, Pork, Ramen, Vegetarian

MAKES ENOUGH FOR 2 DINNERS, EACH SERVING 4

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) skinless, boneless salt cod

  • 1 1/2 cups (355ml) milk

  • 2 thyme sprigs

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 10 black peppercorns

  • 3 allspice berries

  • 1 clove

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) white potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes

  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled

  • Leftover roasted garlic cloves, from the Roasted Garlic Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • Pinch of cayenne

  • Large pinch of grated nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150ml) crème fraîche or heavy cream

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons (60g) cold unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup (45g) panko

1 Rinse the salt cod well and rub off any salt. Soak in 2 quarts (1.9L) cold water for at least 8 hours. Drain and change the water every few hours (an overnight soak without changing is fine).

2 In a saucepan, heat the milk plus 1 ½ cups (355ml) water over medium-high heat. Add the cod, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, allspice berries, and clove. Adjust the heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook until the fish flakes easily, about 15 minutes. Remove the fish and hold at room temperature.

3 Meanwhile, in a separate pot, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Add the garlic and a good pinch of salt. Boil the potatoes until they’re soft, about 15 minutes, then drain the potatoes, reserving the cooking liquid.

4 Put the potatoes and roasted garlic in a large bowl. With your fingers, flake the cod on top. With a potato masher, roughly blend the potatoes and cod. Add the olive oil, lemon zest, cayenne, and nutmeg to taste. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in ½ cup (120ml) of the crème fraîche and beat well to combine. Beat in about ½ cup (120ml) of the potato cooking liquid (strained) to lighten the mixture so it has the texture of soft mashed potatoes. Taste and adjust the seasoning; it will probably need salt and pepper.

5 Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease a low-sided 3-quart (2.8L) baking dish. Transfer the brandade mixture to the buttered dish and smooth with a spatula. Paint the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons crème fraîche and sprinkle with the panko. Dot the top with the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Cover and store in the fridge.

6 The day of: Bring the brandade to room temperature, then heat the oven to 400 ° F (200 ° C). Bake until golden and bubbling, about 20 minutes.

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