There is something to be said for the thrill that comes with anticipation. Like looking under the Christmas tree and seeing all of the gifts waiting to be opened. Or carrying home the latest best-selling novel, imagining crawling into bed and cracking the spine. Or marking “X”‘s on the calendar as you count down the days to your holiday. Or opening up your refrigerator and seeing your fish soaking in cold water. What joy!
Every day is a blessing, but some days have particular significance and meaning. For Greeks, March 25th is one of those special days, as it represents two very important events, one religious and the other, political. The former is the Annunciation of the Theotokos. On this day, we commemorate the message which the Virgin Mary received from the Archangel Gabriel informing her that she was chosen, amongst all women, to be the Mother of Jesus Christ. March 25th therefore holds sacred religious meaning. At the same time, it’s political significance commemorates Greek Independence Day. It is commonly understood that it was on March 25, 1821 that Metropolitan (Bishop) Germanos spearheaded the revolution which would ultimately lead to independence for all Greeks from the Ottoman rule which had oppressed them for nearly 400 years. Both of these events are commemorated with a National holiday in Greece. Such a day of celebration allows for the strict Lent which many follow in these days preceding Easter to be lifted, and eating fish is permitted.
And not just any fish. Traditionally, cod (bakaliaro) is served, along with a side of skordalia; essentially a mashed potato spread with a serious kick of garlic. Both the cod and skordalia are delicious on their own, but combined, they are incredible. The creamy skordalia complements the crispy fried fish perfectly. Think of it as British fish and chips, Greek style.
Because the cod which is used is dried and salted, you need some advance planning. The fish must be soaked for at least 24 hours before it can be prepared, which means if you are reading this post on the day it was posted, and you want to prepare this meal for March 25th…you can! Time to go shopping! You can do it!