Winner of the James Beard/ KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year 2000 and Winner of the Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food 2000.
June 1, 2023
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Mangia Bene

Brandade is a mashed salt cod blended with olive oil and a little garlic until it is a smooth cream. The French word brandade derives from the Provençal brandado, that in turn comes from the past participle of brandar, to shake or stir, in Old Provençal, which has its ultimate derivation from the word brand, a word of Germanic origin meaning sword. The origin of brandade is most likely related to the bipolar trade of salt from nearby Aigues-Mortes with the cod being caught off Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland by northern fishermen, especially those from Iceland, Norway, Scotland, England, and Brittany. The fishermen needed to have salt aboard their ships in order to preserve the freshly caught cod, a fish exported to and that does not exist in the Mediterranean. The cooks of Nîmes, which was the major entrepôt in southern France, along with Marseilles in the eighteenth century, were likely responsible for the invention of brandade. Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877), the president of the Second French Republic and a noted historian, called brandade a “masterpiece of the human race.” The Nîmois author Alphonse Daudet (1840-97) founded the club Le Brandade and after receiving his last rites wished to write an ode to brandade that was to be read during the annual tastings of the club.