Tuesday, July 16, 2013

White Bean "Brandade", a Wonderful Dish to Accompany l'Apero

Shirley and I were strolling down Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica California a while time back looking in store windows and reading menus posted in front of restaurants and keeping an eye on people, some with dogs, enjoying the picture perfect day in Southern California.

We skipped dessert at lunch and decided that now would be a good time for a coffee and dessert break with a potty stop thrown in for good measure. We climbed the steps of a pretty beach front hotel to a porch filled with tables and chairs that ran the length of the hotel along Ocean Avenue.

After being seated and we ordered desserts, Shirley went off to find a bathroom. I called friends Steve and Mary in Michigan while I waited for Shirley to return. After a few minutes, our conversation turned to Sablet, Steve and Mary love Sablet as much as we do, and then to food. Mary said she had bought some new cookbooks including "Mediterranean Harvest" by Martha Rose Shulman.

"Mediterranean Harvest" by Martha Rose Shulman

Mary mentioned several recipes her son tried, he is a personal chef, which she thought were wonderful including one for "White Bean Brandade." A little later our walk took us to a Barnes and Noble bookstore and we went in and a short time afterwards came out with my own copy of the "Mediterranean Harvest."

I know that many of you love aperitifs and the tradition of l'apero. Some of you have written posts about your favorite aperitif and snacks for l'apero and my post about aperitifs here is one of my most widely viewed posts in terms of page views.

So in the spirit of adding to the enjoyment of l'apero, I offer you this tasty and very easy recipe from Martha Rose Shulman for White Bean "Brandade."

White Bean "Brandade"
Makes about 3 cups

"Brandade," a creamy purée of salt cod, is a signature dish of Provence. This version -- without the fish -- is considered a "poor man's brandade." In Marseille, the dish is often garnished with pressed dried tuna roe (poutargue, or bottarga). I sprinkle rosemary over mine.


2 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) white beans (cannellini or navy), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup milk (more as needed)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Crostini or crudités


1. In a mortar and pestle, purée the garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil.

2. Purée the white beans with the mashed garlic in a food processor fitted with steel blade or blender. With the machine running, add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the milk, and lemon juice. Add pepper to taste and adjust the salt. The consistency should be like hummus. If the purée is too stiff, thin out with more milk. Taste and adjust seasoning.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Sprinkle with the herbs. Serve warm or room temperature, with crostini or crudités.

Advance Preparation: The brandade will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator. It will become thicker with time. Thin out as desired with milk.

Ingredients for White Bean "Brandade"

White Bean "Brandade"

Here is a picture of the White Bean "Brandade" on the table ready for the arrival of our guests for l'apero.

Ready for Aperitif

I hope you will try this recipe the next time you invite friends for l'apero. As I said, the dish is very easy and tasty. I have tried a number of other recipes from the "Mediterranean Harvest" cookbook including a wonderful recipe for tomato gazpacho. I like the book so much, that I bought a second copy for the cookbook library at our house in Sablet. Thanks Mary for the recommendation.

In the words of Chef Jacques Pepin, one of my favorite television chefs and cookbook authors, I wish you happy cooking. Bonne journée mes amis et à bientôt.


  1. Thanks so much for this recipe, I will certainly give it a try. Love the fish edition so this will be interesting to try for the next l'apero we have here. I must have a look and see if I can find the book here. Enjoy your week Diane

  2. Michel this Brandade sounds so much more delicious than the Brandade de Morue we always get here. Will be tried pdq....

  3. Oh yum! Funny enough I just bought a bunch of dried white beans at the market, now I know what I can use them for :) And your apéro looks fabulous, would love to be a part of that table! bon weekend

  4. Didn't know the fish version of this recipe (probably because I don't live in Provence) but I love white beans and will definitely be trying this recipe soon. Will let you know how I get on. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I have everything I need to make this! I know what we're having for apéro tonight :)