Brandada De Bacalao (Salt Cod) Recipe

To learn more about this recipe, see our related story, The Spanish Pantry: Salt Cod, in our National edition. 

Recipe adapted from Katie Button, Curaté, Asheville, NC

Brandada De Bacalao
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Brandada de Bacalao from Katie Button, Curaté, Asheville, NC
  • ¾ pound bacalao fillets (salt-preserved cod)
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup mild extra-virgin olive oil
  • 20 garlic cloves, thinly sliced crosswise
  • Kosher salt
  • Crackers, for serving
  1. Place the cod in a large container and cover with cold water. Refrigerate for 24 hours, changing the water every 2 to 4 hours. Remove the cod from the water, squeeze out the excess liquid and roughly chop the bacalao.
  2. In a medium saucepan set over high heat, add the potato and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until soft (a fork should easily pass through the potato without resistance), about 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the potato out into a colander to drain, then set the colander over a medium bowl.
  3. Rinse and dry the saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and cook until the garlic is golden brown, stirring often, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the bacalao and cook about 15 minutes. Turn the mixture out into the colander with the potato and drain (the bowl will catch the oil); reserve the oil.
  4. Transfer the bacalao mixture to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to roughly chop; purée, slowly adding the reserved garlic oil until the brandada is soft and spreadable but not soupy or runny. Season with salt as needed and transfer to a small oven-safe baking dish or four 6-ounce ramekins.
  5. Preheat the broiler to high. Place the brandada in the oven and broil until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes (broiler intensities vary, so watch the broiler very carefully). Serve immediately with crackers.
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