Wild Mushroom and Tuna "Brandade"

by Patrick Hamilton

Serving Size: 12 as an appetizer
Preparation Time: 30 minutes (including cooking time)

One of the easiest appetizers to make and one that pleases even the most discerning of palates is an adaptation of the classic Provence dried cod fish spread called "brandade de morue." Dried cod fish (in those little wooden boxes) has become expensive so we can substitute with good Mediterranean, packed-in-olive-oil, tuna. I used the Spanish brand "Jose Serrats" for the spread brought to our September foray at Salt Point. I purchase it by the case (of 25 small cans) because I use it often (yummy straight from the can!), and it costs much less in this quantity. A simple recipe for this delicious topping for crostini follows.



  1. Peel and cube (1") two medium Russets. Place in a saucepan with 6 (or more) peeled, chopped, cloves of garlic and cover with half and half (or milk, or cream).
  2. Add some sea salt and bring to a boil, turn down and cook until the potatoes are just soft in the middle (about 8 minutes). Remove from the heat.
  3. Add two cans of the tuna. (Draining the oil is not necessary.)
  4. Meanwhile, rehydrate some black chanterelles, or others like porcini, saute them and set aside.
  5. Add the mushrooms to the saucepan and using an immersion blender, process the spread until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. You can add the mushrooms after processing the spread also.

Chopped parsley and other herbs add more complexity, as do chopped, softened, sun dried tomatoes.

An even simpler spread can be had by just opening up a can of that tuna and blending it with some very good softened butter. Add some capers and minced shallots and put it on very good crackers.

About the chef

Patrick Hamilton is a SOMA member and graduate of the California Culinary Academy. Patrick has been a corporate chef, executive chef, catering company owner, food consultant, and columnist. He was David Arora's foray chef for several years, was a demonstration chef at many MSSF events, and leads the SOMA Camp kitchen. He has served thousands of people many mushroom dishes.