If there is anything that reminds me of the sparkling blue waters of the Aegean Sea it’s Skordalia. A classic Greek dip made from very simple pantry ingredients; boiled potatoes, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Often served in tavernas as an accompaniment to bakaliaros (beer battered salt cod). Greek fish and chips.
Incredibly versatile, this gloriously garlicky potato dip also makes a wonderful addition to a mezze plate. This summer I’ll be serving it alongside bowls of hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki, feta and olives with mountains of pita bread. Or using it to jazz up a humble grilled lamb chop. If we are lucky enough to have any leftovers, I know they won’t go astray. Skordalia is fabulous thickly smeared on toast bruschetta style and easily does double duty as a sandwich spread.
For a smooth and airy textured skordalia there is no substitute to making it the old-fashioned, traditional way with a ricer or mouli to shred your potatoes and a mortar and pestle to bruise the garlic into a luscious paste. Beware the swift blades of a food processor or blender which have the capacity to break down the potatoes too quickly into a dense, glue-y, stick to the roof of your mouth mess. Potatoes and garlic taken care of, you only need every day kitchen utensils; a bowl and fork, to gently whisk in a slow drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and a little potato water.
It’s a gorgeous, addictive little dip that takes next to no time to prepare. For the garlic lovers amongst us it certainly packs a powerful flavour punch. Having the potential to transform even the dullest meal into something wonderful, I’m dreaming of even more ways to incorporate it into my repertoire. Of course, served on the side for the fussier palates in our household.
Skordalia. Greek Potato, Garlic And Lemon Dip.
Makes 2 cups
500g (about 3 or 4 medium) floury potatoes (I used Desiree), scrubbed clean but not peeled
4 large cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated, plus a little extra for garnish
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil, plus one tablespoon extra for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup reserved warm potato water
1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
BOIL whole, unpeeled potatoes in plenty of salted water until tender. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the hot potato water. When cool enough to handle, peel them from their skins.
MEANWHILE, using a mortar and pestle pound the garlic and lemon zest with a teaspoon of salt into a smooth paste.
PUSH the potatoes through a sieve, mouli or a potato ricer.
PLACE potato shreds into a medium sized bowl and using a fork, stir in the olive oil, a tablespoon at a time.
STIR through pounded garlic and lemon zest paste, freshly squeezed lemon juice and white pepper.
SLOWLY stir through enough warm potato water, a tablespoon at a time, until the skordalia is the consistency of hummus or a thick dip.
TRANSFER skordalia to a serving bowl, drizzle over a little olive oil and garnish with a little finely grated lemon zest and parsley. Serve as part of a mezze platter, on warm toasted bruschetta or as a delicious accompaniment for grilled lamb or fried fish.