Hello friends! The third recipe of my Greek series is actually halfway between a sauce and a dip. In Athens, we ate skordalia on bread. It is sometimes used as a sauce, and most often it is made with potatoes, for a super delicious garlicky mashed potatoes dish. I had never heard of it until I spotted it on a restaurant’s menu. The card was handwritten, a good omen I thought. It was simply translated as “walnut and garlic paste”. It was such a treat!
It is a great recipe for using stale bread leftovers. I also learned that the real skordalia is ground with a pestle and mortar. I tried to do it with my food processor and with Justin’s big granite mortar. In the latter case, it’s a lot of work. The addition of elbow grease, however, makes the skordalia much tastier. I recommend using red (or white) vinegar for this recipe. Apple cider vinegar is too fruity and balsamic vinegar, too sweet.
Skordalia is sometimes made with almonds, more rarely with pine nuts. The latter often appear in rice stuffings, as in stuffed vine leaves. I learned that Greek and Cretan cuisines use nuts of all kinds. I was already familiar with nut-based desserts, like baklava, and walnut flour cakes. In Crete, yogurt was served with honey and walnuts. However, nuts are also used in savoury recipes, and very ingeniously so. In powder form, they thicken sauces and creams. Ground nuts are replace meat in a delicious savoury pie ( the recipe of which I can not find anymore).
I had fallen into a routine with nuts, eating flax here and almonds there in a quite monotonic way. I left Greece with renewed interest in nuts! I hope you try this recipe. It is delicious as an appetizer, spread on toast on slices of beetroot, radish, or carrot sticks. It works beautifully in sandwiches instead of hummus (which I use itself instead of butter). It’s a lot of garlic, I agree. Perhaps don’t put it in your lunch-box, if your open-space colleagues have a delicate sense of smell wink
Greek recipes #3 : skordalia, walnut and garlic spread
For 1 jar
- 3 slices stale bread (or 200g boiled potatoes)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 150 g walnuts
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 8 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
Dice the bread. Mince the garlic. Toast the walnuts in a dry pan for 5 minutes on medium heat. They must not brow, nor burn.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix. Add olive oil if needed until you get the consistency of a paste. Alternatively, grind all ingredients in a pestle and mortar.