Skordalia, the classic Greek garlic mashed potatoes or potato spread
Is it a puree? Is it mashed potatoes? Is it a spread? We’re not really sure what the best word is to describe skordalia. So, instead of trying to label skordalia, let’s just describe it. This is a recipe that mixes boiled and mashed potatoes with a lot (like, A LOT) of mashed garlic, vinegar and oil. Skordalia is creamy, tangy, definitely garlicky, and one of those recipes that we always think we should make more often.
In reality however, we usually only make skordalia a few times a year, and March 25th is one of those times. The war of Greek Independence began on March 25, 1821 giving this day its political significance. As well, on this day Mary was visited by the Archangel Gabriel who told her that she would bear the son of God, making this day a very special religious holiday. To celebrate, the church fathers lifted the fasting rules which apply during Great Lent and the consumption of fish and oil is permitted on March 25th. Traditionally, all over Greece and in Greek households throughout the world, the meal which will be enjoyed on this day is bakaliaros with skordalia (fried cod and skordalia).
Although it is often the fish which is highly anticipated after a period of fasting, the skordalia makes for a worthy side.The tangy taste complements the fried fish perfectly and its strong flavour elevates the gentle flavour of the cod. Add a side of beet salad (a classic Greek accompaniment for this meal), pour a bit of ouzo and celebrate like a Greek.
How strong is the garlic flavour in skordalia?
Very! If you think that tzatziki has a strong garlic flavour, you’re going to be in for a real surprise with skordalia. But don’t let that scare you! This garlicy spread (or is it a puree? or a mash?) is so delicous even kids love it (or at least, we loved it as kids, and our kids do too!). As with most good things, there is some flexibility available. If you prefer your skordalia less garlicky, simply add less garlic. At the same time if you want it less tangy, add less vinegar.
Which potatoes are best to use in skordalia?
Our parents typically make skordalia with red-skinned potatoes but they have also made it with yellow flesh and even russet potatoes. Any potato will do, except sweet potatoes – that would be weird.
What is the best way to eat skordalia?
Skordalia goes perfectly with fried fish, but it is also delicious with a side of horta, grilled chicken, and even bread. Yes! Skordalia spread over a slice of bread is a beautiful thing. Carb on carb love!
Pin this recipe if you like it!
Looking for more great sides to have with our bakaliaro and skordalia? How about these lovely salads:
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- Mortar and pestle or mini grater or garlic press
- Stand mixer with whisk attachment or hand held mixer
- 5 medium sized potatoes we like to use red-skinned potatoes or yellow-flesh potatoes
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 medium head of garlic
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) red wine vinegar
- 1 cup (250 mL) vegetable oil
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, add 3/4 teaspoon salt and when the water is boiling, add in your potatoes. Reduce heat to medium.
- Boil your potatoes for approximately 15 minutes, until they are soft enough to be mashed. (The exact amount of time that this takes will depend on the size of your potato pieces). Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
- While your potatoes are boiling, prepare your garlic. Peel the garlic and remove and discard any green part that you see in the individual cloves of garlic.
- Combine the garlic with 1 teaspoon of salt and using a mortar and pestle turn it into a paste. If you do not have a mortar and pestle you can use a micro-grater or garlic press to prepare your garlic and then mix it together with the salt.
- When the potatoes have boiled, drain and mash them. If you need to add some liquid to make them creamier and easier to mash, add in up to 1/4 cup of the water that they were boiled in.
- Allow your mashed potatoes to cool.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine the mashed potatoes, garlic paste, red wine vinegar and vegetable oil. Whisk together for 3 - 5 minutes on medium speed until all of the ingredients are well combined.