Salmon Brandade

47 Comments

This recipe comes from the 2018-published cookbook entitled Everyday Dorie, by Dorie Greenspan. I bought it recently after seeing quite a few bloggers share some of this book’s recipes on Instagram.

Personally, I’ve never gotten to “know” Ms. Greenspan. It’s probably because I first learned about her when the book, Baking with Julia, was published. Ms. Greenspan and Julia Childs were co-authors.

Well, I won’t bake with Julia, or anyone else, so I kind of ignored Dorie Greenspan and her award-wining books over the years, until now.

The book? Fairly straight forward, simple food. Her goal with the cookbook is to “turn out food that’s comforting, satisfying, inviting and so often surprising. I love when there’s something unexpected in a dish, especially when it’s in a dish we think we know well.

So, she added Dijon mustard to gougeres, to carrot and mustard rillettes, to honey-mustard salmon rillettes, and to a tomato tart with mustard and ricotta. And that’s just the appetizer chapter. I wasn’t really impressed with her “surprises,” but the photos of the food are really pretty.

I chose to make Ms. Greenspan’s salmon brandade, because I love traditional brandade, made with salt cod. If you’re interested HERE is a Jacques Pepin recipe for it.

According to Dorie Greenspan, “This brandade celebrates everything that’s warm and comforting about the original while adding a touch of luxe – it’s brandade for dinner parties. Serve with a salad and white wine. Maybe even Champagne.

The dish isn’t gorgeous, but it’s perfect comfort food, especially served during cold months. And for pescatarians.

It’s basically a salmon shepherd’s pie!

Salmon Brandade
Makes 6-8 servings

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 pound smoked salmon, or lox
2 – 2 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into medium chunks
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, plus 1/2 tablespoon butter
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped, rinsed, and patted dry
2 garlic cloves, germ removed, minced
6 – 8 ounces skinless salmon fillet, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup white wine or dry vermouth
2 – 3 tablespoons minced mixed fresh herbs, such as dill, chives, parsley, and/or tarragon
Plain dry bread crumbs, for finishing

Bring the milk just to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in half of the smoked salmon, turn off the heat and let steep while you make the potatoes.

Put the potatoes in a tall pot, cover generously with cold water, salt the water and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until they’re so tender that you can easily crush them against the side of the pot with a fork, 15 – 20 minutes. Drain well.

The potatoes must be mashed, a job best done with a food mill or ricer, which produces fluffier potatoes. Mash them in a large bowl, and then, using a spatula, stir in the salmon-milk mixture, followed by the 6 pieces of butter.. The potatoes will be softer and looser than you might be used to. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9″ pie plate and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I used a small baking pan and two ramekins.

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Toss in the onion and garlic and cook, stirring until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper – go light on the salt – and stir in the cubed fresh salmon.


Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine or vermouth and cook, stirring, until the wine almost evaporates, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the herbs and remaining smoked salmon.

Taste for salt and pepper and scrape the mixture into the buttered pan.

Top with the mashed potatoes, spreading them all the way to the edges of the pan. Dot with bits of the cold butter and sprinkle over the bread crumbs.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are hot all the way through, the juices from the onion and salmon are bubbling, and the top is golden brown. If you want the brandade to have more color, put it under the broiler.

Serve immmediately – the brandade is meant to be so hot that you’ve got to blow on every forkful. See the steam in this photo? Nah, I can’t either, but it was steaming hot.

The two layers are exceptionally good, especially the soft potatoes with the bits of salmon.


But the bread crumbs (I used panko) really add a fun crunch to each bite.

I would consider this recipe excellent, but salt the potatoes!

And, the individual brandade in the ramekins turned out perfectly as well.

47 thoughts on “Salmon Brandade

  1. Mimi, that’s one fine looking fish dish you got there. Now we love our fish pies over this way and your Salmon Brandade is certainly a notch or three up from my mid-week fish pie. Your brandade is going to be made soon…

    • It was surprisingly fabulous! I don’t think all of the steps are required. I personally thought steeping the lox in the milk was odd. Maybe lox weren’t necessary in the first place. I prefer lox as lox. Even when I add them to eggs I don’t cook them IN the eggs, but that’s just me. In spite of the steps, it was a superb dish.

  2. I have never really been a big fan of hers, but every once in a while I find a recipe from her books and like it a lot. This sounds like one I definitely would like… We love salmon (we also love traditional brandade, too) and it’s comfort food season, even in the desert! Thanks for finding this gem, Mimi!

    • Oh interesting that you admit that in a world or Dorie lovers! I like you even more David! I wasn’t kidding about just going through the first chapter and noticing that she added mustard to dishes to add “her unique touch” to traditional dishes. 🙄 give me a break. but, this one was very good. And as a lover of salt cod, I prefer the original.

    • Mine neither. After I ate my share and photographed it, I gave it to my friend who is my salmon/fish/seafood buddy!

  3. I also wondered about the step of soaking the smoked salmon first in milk- since it is already ‘cooked.’ Anyway, this recipe certainly ranks right up there in the comforting food department. Since salmon and dijon mustard go well together, Dorie might even allow a touch of mustard in this recipe?

    • Hahahahaha! I prefer lox to stay lox, but well, I’m not a famous chef. It was really good, though! Personally I was fine without Dijon in this recipe; I liked the herbs. Are you a chef yet?!!!

    • It was truly good. I really love salt cod, so I love salt cod everything. Before anyone read my blog, I posted a salt cod with eggs in bechamel recipe with capers. Something my mother always made. Anyway, yes, I’m glad you see my point about the recipe.

  4. We’ve never warmed up to her, either. Love a couple of her recipes from her time with Julia Child, and we had a couple of her cookbooks (they were in the batch that we gave away; just didn’t see any reason to keep them). This recipe, though, looks quite good. Thanks!

    • Oh interesting. I thought people would be throwing virtual rotten tomatoes at me after my comments! This recipe turned out wonderful and comforting, however, and thankfully!

  5. Chef Mimi, I don’t know which amused me more — your revelation about ignoring Dorie Greenspan until now (and the comments it generated); your honest thoughts about adding Dijon mustard to recipes as a “surprise” ingredient ;), or concluding that this dish is basically Salmon Shepherd’s Pie. In any event, my salmon recipe file increased by a few pages. Loved your addition of Panko for a “fun crunch” and tip to salt the potatoes, too. Just looked up Jacques Pepin’s recipe using salt cod (thanks for the link) and added that to my “must try” list as well. Here’s to 2020’s tasty adventures!

    • Dorie just mentioned bread crumbs, and I went for panko and it was a better addition, I think. Glad you enjoyed my comments 😬 I’m just not a baker, so I innocently avoided her cookbooks, but boy have I been seeing a lot of her food on Instagram lately. So I thought I’d try it out. But seriously, I could barely get through the appetizer chapter. Needless to say I rolled my eyes a lot, quite unimpressed. I actually had to contact D G through her website because she listed smoked salmon in the recipe. She’s from Brooklyn, so she told me in her email back to me that smoked salmon is “always” lox. Well, that also didn’t impress me, because any chef and cookbook writer should know about various versions of smoked salmon. I guess now Brooklynites feel as worthy of snobiness as NYC folks, so felt no need to distinguish that she was referring to lox. Phew. Enough griping! If you make it or something like it, you will love it.

  6. This is one delicious dish we need to try soon. We are in the same boat… have completely ignored the whole hub bub of the Dorie cookbooks while living abroad. Maybe now, we will have to explore her many recipes with little twists.

    • Eh, or not. Her twists aren’t that impressive. And I had to email her via her website to ask what she was referring to when she listed smoked salmon in the recipe. I’m the one who added “lox” in a couple of places. I wasn’t impressed with her attitude about the fact that she “only considers smoked salmon lox.” Oh well.

    • Well, exactly. And she added it to so many appetizer recipes, or I maybe wouldn’t have noticed it as her twist ingredient! But it was good.

  7. So delicious looking and just perfect for a winter evening. Thanks for sharing. I am chuckling about the whole “Dorie” thing. xoxo

    • Well I didn’t set out to be unimpressed. I think she’s just famous enough to have gotten this cookbook published. Oh well. Other people might like the bulk of these recipes more than I do.

  8. I really like this dish Mimi and am just chuckling away about the “Dorie” thing! I think you are great and it’s good to be honest and stir things up sometimes. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Ha! Well thanks. I’m just forthright! Based on my cooking and reading cookbook experiences, I just wasn’t that impressed, but this dish was definitely good.

  9. Interesting! I’ve never heard of a brandade before, but I like your description of a salmon shepherd’s pie. Sounds mighty delicious to me! I’m quite familiar with Dorie thanks to my love for baking, but I didn’t realize she stretched into the savory world, too. Thanks for the awesome cookbook review here! Definitely put a new cookbook on my radar now.

    • Yeah, well I really didn’t give her cookbook an awesome review. I was probably a bit confusing unless you read every word of mine, and sometimes i ramble a bit in my posts. Plus I make quite a few sarcastic comments that are sometimes not caught 😬. I wasn’t impressed at all to be honest. There are some nice dishes, nothing so unique that it required to be in a whole cookbook, but this recipe did turn out well.

    • No, I wasn’t. I think at a certain point in your career when you’ve worked with Julia Child, you can more easily get a cookbook published. But, on the other hand, other people really like her.

  10. I do see steam in one of the pictures and I love it when food is served at the table that hot. This looks like a dish I would enjoy. Ms. Greenspan’s books are on my shelves but I’ve never tried a savory recipe of hers. This looks like one to try.

  11. I also missed the Dorie bandwagon but if this is a typical example of her cookery, then I better get on board. I LOVE brandade and a smoked salmon version sounds lovely.

    By the by, I did a whitefish brandade years ago that I thought was really delicious… and original. I blogged thinking it was my “invention” only to find out it was already a thing. Ah well…

  12. Ha!!! That’s very funny. Well, I’m sure there is much duplication around the world. If you didn’t know about it, then you did invent it! This was a fabulous and homey dish.

    • I hadn’t either. I had the most fabulous fish pie in Windsor, although not at a touristy pub. And when my “might as well be British son-in-law” visited last year I made a seafood pie. But being that we’re land locked, the seafood just is barely quality enough to my liking. Af least baked in a pie it works better. This was a fabulous recipe, in my opinion.

  13. I’ve never tried brandade, Mimi! This looks and sounds like something my family would love. In the cold rainy Northwest, this seems a perfect dish! And I agree with the food mill or ricer for potatoes, it does make them nice and fluffy, just the way we like them!

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