Chef Marc Forgione’s savory bacalao version of the classic pub dish provides depth of flavor perfect for brunch or dinner.
Author: Marc Forgione
- To prepare the Bacalao, rehydrate the fish by placing in a large, deep container; cover with cold water. Leave fish to soak in a refrigerator for 3 days; change water every 8 hours or so. Bacalao is ready when it feels like fresh cod again. When ready, debone and remove skin.
- To make the Brandade, preheat an oven to 350ºF.
- Prepare a garlic confit: Cover garlic cloves with olive oil, bring to a simmer, turn off heat and allow garlic to sit in hot oil until cloves are soft. Set aside until needed.
- Prick potatoes all over with a fork. Place on an oven rack and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, wrap the bay leaf, thyme and tarragon in cheesecloth.
- It is important to work with the Bacalao and potatoes while they are still warm.
- During the last few minutes of baking the potatoes, rinse the bacalao and place it in a small saucepan and cover with milk and cheesecloth-wrapped aromatics.
- As soon as the potatoes are baked, place the saucepan with the Bacalao over medium-low heat. Heat milk to just below a simmer, and gently poach the fish for 5 minutes. (When done, the poached fish should be flaky.) Remove from heat and discard aromatics and any remaining skin and bone. Set fish aside, covering in plastic to keep warm.
- Halve baked potatoes while still warm, scoop flesh out from potato skins and press through a food mill. Set potatoes aside, covering in plastic to keep warm.
- Place Bacalao in a food processor and pulse a few times to break it up. Be careful not to overwork the fish or it will become mushy. Add garlic confit, paprika and 1 cup olive oil to food processor; pulse until incorporated.
- Transfer to a bowl. Mince herbs, then fold in potatoes, chervil, chives and black pepper. when pepper and herbs are well-mixed, use a microplane to zest lemons directly into the bowl, and mix again.
- For the Batter, in a medium bowl, whisk together rice flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Add cold beer and stir. Batter should be thick and slightly lumpy. Let Batter sit for about 10 minutes, or up to 2 hours.
- Dice cornichons. Grate and chop truffles(optional), then make the Tartar Sauce by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl; set aside until ready to serve.
- Roll Brandade into 18 2-tablespoon balls. In a deep fryer or deep saucepan, heat at least 3 inches of oil to 350ºF. Skewer balls and gently place them into batter, then carefully place battered balls in hot oil. Once a shell has formed, push the balls into the oil and stir to coat evenly. Once balls are crispy and warm in the center, transfer them to a paper-lined tray.
- To serve, spread a little of the Tartar Sauce in the bottom of a large bowl. Place Brandade fritters on top of the sauce. Toss more fines herbes in a little olive oil and scatter on top of fritters. Arrange potato chips on top and dust the entire dish with a little smoked paprika.