Imagine you make an emulsion of garlic and olive oil. What you get is an aioli. Now add salt cod to the mix and what you obtain is a bacalao brandade. That is the basics of this recipe. That simple.
The original bacalao brandade goes back in time all the way to the 16th century, when salt cod was first introduced to the Iberian Peninsula, all the way from the Basque Country and into Catalonia along the beautiful Pyrenees mountains. Back then, salt cod was the only fish available to the inhabitants from the inland provinces. This meant that particularly during the lent period, this fish became extremely popular, prompting many traditional recipes to be created in order to make the best use of it.
Perhaps one of the most basic ones is the bacalao brandade, a simple emulsion of garlic, olive oil and salt cod that was made with the only help of a mortar. A reminder of how little is needed to come up with some delicious food.
Over the time, the basic recipe was progressively evolved and many different versions started to appear all around. Other ingredients were added up in order to balance out the strong flavours of the original recipe… Potatoes, milk or even cream were intended to smooth out the final flavours as well as the texture.
Today’s recipe shows off the bacalao brandade in all its glory, just spread over a slice of good bread and topped with a Basque guindilla chilli; a superb combination that I am sure you will love.
And remember, the bacalao brandade is a very versatile preparation, and of course, today’s recipe is not the only way to enjoy it. You should definitely try our super exquisite piquillo peppers stuffed with bacalao brandade. Alternatively you can also use it to stuff artichokes, to make a brandade tortilla, a mushrooms and brandade ‘revuelto’, some bacalao brandade fritters or even croquetas.