Homemade skordalia with potatoes (garlic dip)

Skordalia and tzatziki are the yummiest dips you’ll ever taste when it comes to Greek cuisine. I’ve already posted my recipe for tzatziki so it’s well overdue, I think, to share my recipe for skordalia today.

In case you need help differentiating the two: Tzatziki is made with cucumber and yoghurt and is used to accompany roasts (meat dishes mostly, but I also enjoy it with the vegetarian dish, briam!). Skordalia is traditionally made with potato and lemon juice and is served with fish (fried, mostly).

You could call skordalia a dip or a sauce, or a puree… but no matter how you call it, please listen… There are variations out there using bread, but I’ve only had it once that way, and that was the last, I tell you. Tastes vary, I know, and it’s my own opinion that nothing compares with the classic skordalia that uses potato! So if you’ve only been served the bread variety in a restaurant, please persist till you find a place that serves the real thing. Or, you can make it in the comfort of your own kitchen using my step-by-step recipe. It uses very few basic ingredients.

In the old days, skordalia could only be prepared using the classic pestle and mortar. My great uncle Antonis from Moraitika, Corfu was the master of skordalia. Any day during my long summers in Corfu in the 70s and 80s with my sister, grandparents, and extensive family was a special day when Great Uncle Antonis took his pestle and mortar off the shelf! I couldn’t possibly post a recipe for it and not mention him here, bless his kind soul, and I hope he is smiling from Heaven!

A photograph from the 50s of the Vassilakis family in Moraitika, Corfu. My great-grandmother sits at the centre, surrounded mostly by children and grandchildren. Great Uncle Antonis is the first from left in the back row.

Nowadays, we all have a blender or two at home, and you don’t have to use a big one either. Actually, the best is to use a small blender, and to keep removing the contents as you go, transferring them into a big bowl. Alternatively, you can transfer the mashed up contents to a mortar to finish off the mixing with the pestle. This is what I do as I don’t have the ‘elbow grease’ to do the mashing up from the start in the mortar. Why use a pestle and mortar? It’s because, in my experience, they help make the texture just perfect. I am aware I’m being a perfectionist though, and it’s not really important… (What can I say? Great Uncle Antonis spoiled me, LOL!) So if you just have a blender, it’ll do just fine.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As you add olive oil, the mixture gets sticky. That’s why as you keep mixing, you have to add water every time you add lemon juice and olive oil. This way the mixture will stay fluid. It may sound complicating but it’s not. Trust me! Here’s my very simple recipe:

INGREDIENTS (serves 3-4)

3 medium-sized potatoes

5-6 cloves of garlic (this makes it mild to tolerable in the palate. If you want it to be super-spicy, add 1-2 more perhaps, or more, it’s up to you. Some people love it rocket-fuel hot!)

1 cup of extra virgin olive oil approximately (add gradually, shouldn’t need more than that)

Juice of 1 – 1.5 medium-sized lemons (Juice 1 lemon first, then taste the dip and add more if needed)

1 cup of water in room temperature. May need a little more.

PREPARATION

Boil the potatoes in salted water – whole with their skins or without and in chunks, it’s up to you, but washing them and boiling them whole with their skins results in better taste. Use a fork to see when the whole potatoes are done. Use a knife to peel them and let them cool before using.

Cut up the garlic cloves and put them in a small blender (or pestle and mortar, if you want to skip the blender altogether). Add some salt and a sprinkle of olive oil and mash the garlic.

Now, add some potato, some olive oil, some water, and some lemon juice. Mix that in the blender and transfer the mixture to a large bowl (or a mortar).

Continue with the rest of the potatoes, putting them in the small blender with olive oil, water, and lemon juice until it’s all done and transferred to the big bowl. If you use a pestle and mortar at this point you’ll find it easier to remove any lumps and the texture may be better (more loose and frothy).

Either way, keep adding lemon, olive oil and water until you have a smooth and slightly loose dip. Add lemon to taste.

Skordalia is great with grilled fish, or fried fish like haddock. On March 25 – Greek Independence Day (and the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary), lunch is the same in every Greek home: ‘Bakaliaros Skordalia!’ This is fried haddock with garlic dip. Typically, it is accompanied with boiled potatoes and boiled beets with their greens. Everything is served sprinkled with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Broccoli also goes very well, though it’s not the typical Greek choice.

ENJOY!

Hungry for more? Browse through all my recipes here: https://effrosinimoss.wordpress.com/category/greek-recipes-2/

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Clean romance short read, FREE with Kindle Unlimited. It’ll transport you straight to Corfu to experience summer in an idyllic Greek seaside village. The story is inspired from the author’s love for Moraitika and its people. Visit Amazon: https://bit.ly/3pAP3rf

Planning to visit Greece? Check out Effrosyni’s travel guide to the idyllic villages of Moraitika and Messonghi in south Corfu. Best tavernas, beaches, boat trips and more! http://bit.ly/1IPwNPv

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