Friday, 22 January 2010

Mash and Thrash

I first tasted Brandade de Morue sitting opposite the Roman Amiptheatre in Nimes. Pretentious, moi? How good could some sloppy salt cod and mash potato be? Erm, unbelievably was the answer. Of course the setting helped. The atmosphere too, heady with anticipation of a bullfight in the 2,000 year old arena. Provence claims the dish, but it was those clever Basques who gave the Med salt cod.

I've had Brandade since, even tried making it a few times. It was never much good. Then, last Saturday, popping into Lupe Pintos for some Crystal Hot Sauce, I spied this hunk of top notch salt cod. It's a good shop for oddities and they play some great music while you're browsing.

Served with roasted vegetables and spring greens. Really good, not quite as good as in Nimes, but I'll definitely make it again. Maybe as the topping for a posh fish pie? Drank a bottle of 'hard to find but worth the effort' Picpoul de Pinet. It comes from the Languedoc, which is more or less Provence, costs £7.49 in Waitrose, and was a perfect match.

Less of a perfect match was the evenings entertainment. After a substantial dinner, went to see Comanechi in a packed Captain's Rest.

The Brandade recipe calls for an entire bulb of garlic. That really helped clear a way through the crowd to a decent vantage point. Amusingly, Akiko spent a lot of time moaning about an enormous curry, made by someone from the other band DIVORCE, that she'd eaten just before the gig. "I feel aw stuffied up", she said, in her sexy Japanese accent. I sympathised... with both of them.

Comanechi were great and according to Eric Ledford's review in The Skinny: "...the duo deconstruct the foundations of rock with desperate abandon, alternating between skeletal riffage and effects-drenched spheres of chaos" ... pretentious, moi?

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