Friday fish takes simple forms at times and the favourite salt cod provides a standby meal, frequently eaten in Marseille and in Provence in general.
The accompaniments vary a little but the remaining saltiness of the fish is well-balanced by the potatoes, the carrots, the cauliflower, sometimes green beans, and the hard-boiled eggs. What does not change is the fish and the garlic mayonnaise from which the dish takes its name. The combination of fresh, steamed vegetables, and of the cod is very healthy. If you are watching your cholesterol levels, go easy on the mayonnaise and the eggs.
This is a complete meal in itself and it can be eaten in any season, although it is preferred in Winter. If salt cod cannot be found, frozen unsalted cod can be used, although the taste is somewhat altered.
On this occasion, the aïoli became very simple because I did not have any cauliflower or green beans and I did not wish to make the garlic mayonnaise from scratch. I used some shop bought mayonnaise, added the garlic and some chopped capers for a change. I also sliced the potatoes and the carrots, so the presentation was a little different from the usual one but the taste was the same. I also part shredded the cod.
2 thick slices of salt cod , cut in half
1 small cauliflower
4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled
4 medium-sized carrots, peeled
8 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half
- De-salt the cod in cold running water over a period of 12 hours, at a frequency of once every 3 hours. (see previous posts using salt cod)
- Hard-boil the eggs and shell them. Once cooled, cut them in half.
- Steam the fish with the carrots and the potatoes in a pressure cooker together with the cauliflower florets.
- Serve with the garlic mayonnaise.
A very cool rosé or a cool white wine go well with this dish.
This is the season when a fair amount of Brocciu (or Brousse in French) is consumed.
When I cannot find it, I use Ricotta although it is a little different in that it is made from ewe’s milk and it is good if you are lactose intolerant.
It is a soft, velvety and fresh cheese which is found in many Corsican recipes. It can be eaten immediately after being made or affiné for a month.
Having made some beignets with it (see post of 8 November), I thought it was time to give a little information about it.
This ideal fresh cheese does not have a strong flavour. Combined with herbs from the maquis like nepitta, wild mint, or with wild asparagus, spinach , Swiss chards it makes a very good filling for courgettes, aubergines, cannelloni, omelettes, pies, gratins and fish. It also makes very good Beignets (fritters). It can be added to soups as well.
Eaten at the end of a meal, as a dessert, on its own or as the main ingredient of a delicious cheesecake, the Fiadone, it evokes Corsican cuisine immediately. It can also replace crème pâtissière in fruit tarts. Enjoy a cool glass of white wine with it or a sparkling Muscat at the end of a meal.
The days are getting shorter but it is still very sunny and warm in Corsica and lunch can still be enjoyed outdoors.
The little cheese fritters are perfect for the apéritif or for a starter or even a packed lunch, although the notion of packed lunch does not exist in Corsica. Meals are too important to be skipped or reduced to food in a plastic container.
It takes very little time to cook the beignets and even less time to eat them.
Serves 4 :
250g brocciu ( or ricotta)
150g Self-raising flour (or plain flour and a sachet of yeast)
10ml chestnut beer (Pietra)
20ml sunflower oil
1. Mix the flour with the beer in a large mixing bowl and add the cheese, breaking it with a fork. If the mixture is too thick, add a little water.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and shape little parcels of dough with tablespoons. Put the parcels one at a time quickly in the frying pan and cook until golden.
3. Drain and place on kitchen roll to absorb excess oil.
4. Let the fritters cool a little before serving them with a cool rosé.
Tip: I have used Pietra beer because it adds a distinctive chestnut flavour to the beignets. The beer tends to give extra fluffiness. A pancake mixture with eggs can also be used.
Like all fritters, these can be served with a salad if you prefer to have them as a main course.
They also freeze well, so you can make a bigger quantity and enjoy them at later stage.