Last night I made a small batch of homemade Skordalia (from the Greek word “skordo’ for garlic). Skordalia is probably the #1 most popular accompaniment to any Greek fish meal, especially cod. The thought of cod being served without skordalia is virtually inconceivable (like serving Shepherd’s Pie without ketchup!).
There are many acceptable variants to this very traditional dish. Some use mashed potato, others use fresh bread white (from the center of a good loaf of “real” bread – not the cellophane-wrapped synthobread that you find in grocery stores), and others still, a combination of both. My grandmother used only bread so I grew up with its unique taste and texture and frankly don’t like the mashed-potato version….YMMV).
As a veteran hypo-taster and chili-head, I tend to go crazy on the garlic. Last night’s batch had 12 cloves (a full head) in what turned out to be about a cup of finished product. Fortunately our guests are veteran garlic aficionados…although there was still much teary-eyed gagging accompanying the Wows!.
Skordalia can be smeared directly on the freshly baked or fried codfish…or a small forkful added to each bite…your call! It is best consumed by everyone at a given dinner, or the non-eater will suffer dire consequences for the remainder of the evening from the fumes emanating from everyone else’s bucal cavity.
1. In a small food processor, finely chop 2-12 cloves of garlic according to taste.
2. Add a handful of walnuts and chop roughly.
3. Soak about a cup of soft breadcrumb from the inside of a good loaf of French or Italian bread in some water for one minute, remove and squeeze out most of the water between your hands. Add to food processor bowl with the garlic and nuts. Add some salt. Add about a quarter cup of good olive oil and a two tablespoons of white vinegar. Blast away in the food processor until smooth. If it is too thick and hard to spoon out, add some more olive oil and blend again. It should be a smooth paste that can be easily spooned out (with a similar texture to hummus).
Use sparingly if you have not eaten it before as it is well known for producing intense reactions in the digestive tract as well as very vivid dreams during the night. HIGHLY ADDICTIVE. Only for the very socially self-confident, or already-attached. Not great before a first date.