Brandade soup with mussels


  • Serves 4 people

  • 20 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Desiree potato, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 300 ml dry white wine
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 300 ml pouring cream
  • ½ lemon, juice only (or to taste)
  • 12 black mussels (about 400gm), scrubbed
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 80 gm drained canned chickpeas, rinsed
  • ¼ tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • Salt-cured bream
  • 1 skinless bream fillet (170gm), bones removed
  • 80 gm rock salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 lemon, finely grated rind only
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
01   For salt-cured bream, place fish in a non-reactive dish. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl, scatter over fish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until lightly cured, turning occasionally (5 hours). Wipe salt from fish with absorbent paper, cut into 3cm pieces and set aside.
02   Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until foaming, add onion, potato and garlic, sauté until starting to soften (5-7 minutes). Add 200ml wine, reduce by half (2-3 minutes), add stock, cream and fish, bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until potato and fish are tender (25-30 minutes). Blend until smooth in a blender, season to taste with lemon juice and keep warm.
03   Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over high heat, add mussels and remaining wine and cook, covered, until mussels open, shaking pan occasionally (3-5 minutes). Remove any unopened mussels and discard. Remove meat from remaining mussels (discard shell and liquid) and keep warm.
04   Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add chickpeas and paprika, stir occasionally until warm (2-3 minutes), season to taste and add mussels. Divide soup among bowls, top with mussels and chickpeas and serve hot, drizzled with paprika oil.
This recipe is from the September 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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