No. 13: Brandade at Gottino
The perfect wine bar meal -- salt-cod brandade and some char-striped toasts.
Brandade is one of my favorite dishes. Its full name is brandade de morue, and it originated in Provence, though similar dishes can be found in many southern Mediterranean cuisines.
Salt cod is one of the world's great culinary staples, carried all over the globe by European mariners to provide food on long voyages, and sustenance in New World colonies. It has been said that without salt cod, there could have been no system of slavery in the colonies. The preserved fish left a rich legacy in the cuisines of the Caribbean, too, where dishes like the "stamp 'n' go" of Jamaica, and the salt-cod salad of Cuba and Puerto Rico are keystone methods of preparation.
Nowadays, of course, cod is endangered due to overfishing. Don't worry, though, because modern salt cod is usually made with pollack or some other low-value fish, salted and dried in the same way.
The original French recipe calls for pounding the cod with olive oil, garlic, and cream, though potatoes are often used as a further ingredient. At Gottino -- one of the city's best wine bars -- the brandade comes in a mason jar pooled with an extra quantity of olive oil. The taste on a piece of toast, or simply pulled out of the jar with a finger and licked, is superb.
Gottino 52 Greenwich Avenue 212-633-2590
100 Days/100 Dishes is an almost-random alphabetical collection of delicious dishes from around the five boroughs. See the entire series so far.
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