I signed up for a week of Blue Apron (read more about the process here), and was really looking forward to trying out the first recipe. My policy is to cook fish as soon as possible after getting it home, so I chose the fish recipe first: Cod & Potato Brandade with Watermelon Salad & Garlic Toasts. I also picked it first because I’d never had a brandade and wanted to give one a try.
The recipe was the most complicated of the three. Each recipe card has room for six illustrated steps. This recipe used all six, and each space was completely packed with written instructions. The brandade alone had several steps: boil potatoes with garlic and mash together; saute cod and flake; mix cod and potatoes; spread in baking dish; destem thyme and add to breadcrumbs, mixing with oil; spread breadcrumbs on top; bake. Then there was also a simple salad and garlic toasts. None of the steps were difficult, but in the end it took Arne and I together most of an hour to complete the recipe.
There were a couple of small problems with the recipe. The instructions on the last step were partially unreadable because the tape used to hold them in place in the box had torn the card. They also didn’t mention what size baking dish to use.
It turned out that the answer was “a very small one.” I used two individually sized oval dishes and was surprised to find that I had to make an effort to get the brandade mixture to spread all the way to the edges. Which is not to say the meal was skimpy. While the portions of brandade were smaller than I expected, the salad and bread were both plentiful. We didn’t finish the garlic toasts.
Overall, I was lukewarm about this meal. That’s partly because I’m not a big fan of cod; I find it metallic tasting and like it best well disguised with beer batter and tartar sauce. (Mmmm, fish and chips.) The brandade, in my opinion, needed a bit more spark – it included four garlic cloves, but their vigor was lost in the boiling process. I did like the crunch of the breadcrumbs against the creamy potatoes. The salad was tasty and pretty, though quite simple. Soaking the shallot in the vinegar made for a nice dressing, and the watermelon radishes made for a beautiful salad with lots of nice crunch. And there was plenty of bread – so much bread that it felt like they knew the main dish was a little small and wanted to make sure no one said they hadn’t gotten enough dinner.
The meal was fine, but except for the beautiful salad, kind of monochromatic and not as exciting as I’d hoped. I had followed the recipe to the letter for reviewing purposes; left to my own devices I might have punched it up somehow.
I was a little disappointed, but still looking forward to trying the next dish: Roast Pork with Sauteed Spinach & Olive Smashed Potatoes.