Salt cod brandade pickled fried onions starter from Xiringuito, Liverpool

Salt cod brandade pickled fried onions

  • serves 4 as a starter
  • A little effort

An impressive dinner party starter, this recipe for creamy mash and crisp tempura pickled onions comes from chef Jackson Berg of moveable restaurant Xiringuito in Liverpool



  • salt cod 200g, (see cook's notes below)
  • black peppercorns 6
  • bay leaves 2
  • onion 1 large, sliced
  • whole milk 500ml
  • potatoes 250g, peeled and chopped
  • olive oil 200ml, plus a splash
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • coriander or micro leaves to serve

Pickled onions

  • red onion 1 large
  • red wine vinegar 250ml
  • black peppercorns 6
  • star anise 1
  • thyme 1/2 a bunch
  • caster sugar 100g
  • salt 10g


  • tempura batter mix 120g
  • sparkling water chilled


For the pickles

  • Step 1

    Peel and slice the onion for the pickled onions into rings.

  • Step 2

    Heat up all the remaining ingredients with 250ml water in a large pan. Once it’s reached boiling point add the onion rings for about 40 seconds.

  • Step 3

    Turn the heat off, remove the rings with a slotted spoon and put onto a tray to cool.

  • Step 4

    Once the pickle juice is lukewarm, pour it over the onions in a bowl and put in the fridge overnight.

For the cod

  • Step 1

    Soak the salt cod in cold water for 24 hours, changing the water once or twice (or see cook’s notes for tips on salting your own).

  • Step 2

    Drain it, then put in a pan with the black peppercorns, bay leaves, onion and milk, to cover.

  • Step 3

    Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Lift the cod out and allow to cool.

To serve

  • Step 1

    Cook the potato in the milk until soft.

  • Step 2

    Remove any bones and skin from the fish and break the flesh into coarse shreds.

  • Step 3

    Drain the potato but keep the milk, discarding the aromatics, mash the potato coarsely.

  • Step 4

    Whizz the cod in a food processor with the potato and enough milk to make a soft mash. Stir in the olive oil to make a soft consistency, stopping just short of sloppy.

  • Step 5

    Make the tempura batter by whisking the mix with sparkling water until the batter is the consistency of double cream.

  • Step 6

    Put the drained onions into the batter, coating well, then deep-fry in a pan of oil no more than 1/3 full, heated to 180C (or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds) for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.

  • Step 7

    Heat up the brandade in a non-stick pan, adding a little extra splash of olive oil to make it silky if it needs it. Put the brandade on the bottom of the plate, the fried onions on top and scatter over some coriander or micro leaves to serve.

Cook's note: You can buy salt cod at You’ll need to soak it for 24 hours before using, if so plan that into your prep time. Alternatively, you can salt your own. For each 200g of fresh cod, rub with 35g of sea salt. Cover and leave in the fridge for 12 hours. When you’re ready to use, soak the home-salted cod in water for 3-4 hours before poaching as in the recipe above. Buy tempura batter mix from supermarkets.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 671
  • Fat 52.9g
  • Saturates 8.7g
  • Carbs 32.6g
  • Sugars 11.8g
  • Fibre 4.2g
  • Protein 14.1g
  • Salt 2.8g