It's a windy, snowy, foggy, day. I can just barely see the Academy on the next hill. The foghorn is omnipresent. It's good to be home.
I've had salt cod soaking in the fridge for two days, so it's time to make a brandade. My recipe puts a Mexican twist on a classic Gourmet recipe:
1/2 pound choice-grade skinless boneless salt cod (I get this locally from my fish men, Jimmy and Timmy. Heavy history with cod in Nova Scotia!)
2 large Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1 head of garlic, crushed
2 dried chiles
2 fresh oregano sprigs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Baguette (Ours, of course, is from Vendeenne)
Rinse cod well to remove external salt. Cover with cold water by 2 inches in a bowl and soak, chilled, changing water 3 times, about 24 hours.
Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Put in a saucepan with well-salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and simmer potato until very tender, about 15 minutes. (Do not drain until ready to whip.)
While potato is cooking, bring cream to a simmer with garlic, chile, and oregano in a small saucepan, then simmer gently, partially covered, until garlic is tender, about 15 minutes. Discard child and oregano, and purée garlic with cream in a blender until smooth.
Meanwhile, drain cod and transfer to another 2-quart saucepan with water to cover. Bring just to a simmer and remove from heat. (Cod will just flake; do not boil or it will become tough.)
Drain cod and potatoes in a colander and, while still warm, combine in a large bowl with cream mixture. Beat with an electric mixer at low speed until combined well. Add oil in a slow stream, beating, and season with salt and black pepper. Top toasted baguette slices with warm brandade just before serving.