Tonight I’m excited to be going to a food blogger event with the Steamy Kitchen‘s Jaden Hair, in celebration of her newly published, Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. It’s a pot luck, and we’ve been asked to bring our signature dish–the one we’re known for.
I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about what I’m known for. Mainly my baking (duh), but what recipe? Chocolate chip cookies are what I bring to just about any board meeting I attend. And I’m always asked to bring chocolate cake to birthday parties. But, lately, to casual potlucks I’ve been bringing my gluten-free French bread and skordalia to go with it. So, that’s what I’ve decided to bring.
Skordalia is a Greek side dish that is often used as a dip. Garlic is the most constant ingredient. It is a puree made with some sort of starch–most often stale bread, nuts, or potatoes. I am something of a latecomer to the skordalia scene–I found about it this summer. I was on Twitter (as @fourchickens) and asked folks for ideas for hummous-y dips that didn’t contain sesame paste. Recently I’ve discovered I don’t feel well after eating sesame, so I needed a substitute. Someone suggested skordalia. I had no idea what that was, so I did some investigating. Once I found out what it was I started experimenting with recipes.
My favorite recipe is the one in Tessa Kiros’s fabulous cookbook, Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes:
This is truly a wonderful (and beautiful) cookbook. It has recipes from many different countries in which she has lived. I learned of it this summer when we featured it on the Canning Across America web site. Everything in it that I’ve made has been delicious. Kiros’s recipe for skordalia is simple yet full of flavor, so I started there. I’ve tweeked it so much that I think my recipe is more “inspired-by” than “adapted-from.”
Kiros’s recipe has potatoes as its base–which appealed to me the most out of all the options. Her recipe includes over twice as many garlic cloves than I use–I find I like a more subtle flavor (but you can experiment and add up to 5 like she does if you want).
-inspired by one in Tessa Kiros’s Falling Cloudberries
Special Equipment Needed
-a food processor is nice to mix the ingredients, but a potato masher would be fine
1 1/2 pounds of waxy potatoes (I like Yukon Gold the best)
1 stalk celery
1 small onion
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
salt for boiling potatoes
parsley for boiling potatoes
1/2 cup good olive oil
juice from one lemon
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
1 tsp salt
-peel potatoes and cut them into quarters
-wash, cut and quarter the carrot, celery stalk, and onion
-add all to a large stock pot, fill with water to cover
-add peppercorns and parsley to water, then salt water well
-bring to a boil and boil until potatoes are done, about 15 minutes
-mix garlic with salt in a small bowl
-add a tablespoon of the olive oil to this mixture
-when potatoes are done, turn off heat
-using a slotted spoon, take potatoes out of the stock and put in a separate bowl (don’t worry if you snag some of the peppercorns, they will be fine in the dip)
Note: If you are using a food processor for the next part, it is important to follow the directions–if you don’t, you run the risk of turning your potatoes into a gummy blob. They will taste fine, but the texture of the skordalia will be wrong.
-put 1/3 of the potatoes into the bowl of the food processor. Pulse briefly a couple of times (to just barely start the mashing process). If using the potato masher, follow these directions by mashing instead of pulsing
-add the garlic mixture and pulse briefly another couple of times
-add another 1/3 of the mixture with 1/2 of the olive oil and lemon juice–pulse briefly another couple of times
-add final 1/3 of potatoes plus the remainder of the olive oil and lemon juice
-pulse a few more times, briefly each time, to combine all into a smooth mixture
-it’s very important not to pulse too many times or for too long–the potatoes will quickly become gummy.
Put skordalia in a serving dish with a spoon. Serve at room temperature with some freshly baked French bread. You can also serve it as a flavorful side dish.
Note: you can use the water from boiling the potatoes and other veggies for a nice veggie stock for soup.
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