A bit of teasing here, sorry to say. Mostly I'm in the business of encouraging you to try particular recipes or approaches. But this particular recipe is unavailable unless you have 'beyond essence', book 3 of this Holy Grail. Still, after reading further you might have all the encouragement needed to head off to a nearby bookseller.
Definitions of 'Brandade' elsewhere will be unlikely to give you this interpretation. But all the elements are here in a still-faithful and flavour-packed expression. A small offering, mind you. But even served as an amuse bouche it has the power to leave a lasting impression. This is robust fare.
Salt cod is first to be prepared. I know, you can buy it... but mucking about a bit in the kitchen is always life-enhancing, don't you think. Thyme, garlic, juniper and salt (from the sea, from Maldon, of course!) do their work for up to five hours. That's long enough for the chemistry to firm up the fish and leave insistent flavour, even after rinsing.
Crispy onions need care with chopping and cooking. I got close on both counts but my pic reveals a few stray 'giants' which escaped the knife and the colour after frying is a shade darker than wanted. The crumb kept its allium attack without veering over to bitterness.
This recipe is from one of my country's top chefs so you naturally expect a spot of refinement along with innovation. A layer of potato mousse should be delivered from a pressurised iSi Whip gun... something which I've never put on my Amazon wish-list. So I had to adapt.
You'll find wine pairings for brandade online and in restaurants. I'm sure that Helen Everitt-Matthias would have an interesting recommendation to match her husband's offering... but setting out on the recipe it struck me that something after the style of a citrussy IPA would suit. I'd made beer pickled onions the previous day and still had enough ale left to help out here. I decided to thinly slice potato and 'poach' it in a two to one liquid ratio of beer and milk until soft. Soft but able to hold a shape for layering. And preserving my initial beery notion.
I don't have any pics of the garlic foam being prepared. It involved finally using the tip from my cookbook mentor of grinding 'health food' shop lecithin granules to a powder. This stabilises the foam after a zizz from a stick blender.
The cod is finely diced and taken to a glass-like appearance in warm olive oil.
Nearly there. Here are the onions on better show before the garlic foam blanketed them.
The final appearance didn't quite have the distinct layers that I might have hoped for but the eating was not compromised in any way. This recipe is about the combination of flavours in a humble but very special French dish. Here it locates firmly to the south east corner (Marseille and around) with its whack of added garlic. Those flavours combine as soon as the spoon goes in.
I served this as an amuse to friends and warily introduced it as perhaps the most challenging dish of the evening. All glasses ended up scraped clean by spoon or finger for every last morsel.