I made potato pancakes last weekend to go with the German sausages The Grill-Meister picked up at Kuby’s in Dallas (that’s a forthcoming story).
I had more potatoes than I needed and a little extra time, so I decided to try my hand at making skordalia.
Skordalia is a magical Greek sauce made primarily from garlic, oil and either potatoes or bread (or both). It can also have ground nuts in it, and lemon juice or red wine vinegar. Have you ever had it? It has a “nectar of the gods” feel to it when you first experience it.
My first skordalia exposure was in Baltimore in the early 90s, at a Greek restaurant in the food court of the bustling upscale Harborplace Mall during its heyday.
Sadly, after 40 years, the mall’s future is uncertain and it stands almost empty after changing hands and going into receivership.
But this story isn’t about that, it’s about my skordalia awakening.
I have no idea what else was on my plate at that food court meal (maybe spanakopita, maybe something else?), because the skordalia just blew me away. It was garlicky, lemony, smooth and yet substantial at the same time. I filed it away as a must-learn-to-make dish, but never got around to it. (I am woefully lacking in experience with cooking Greek cuisine, with only the ubiquitous Greek salad on my regular menu rotation.)
But I have a great track record with eating Greek food. Yum! I’ll order skordalia and my other fave Greek spread, taramasalata (basically skordalia with fish roe) any time I’m at a Greek restaurant.
I’ve had skordalia in Norway, London and even Galveston, Texas, but that first bite of garlicky deliciousness at the fancy food court in Baltimore was the BEST.
So I looked at a bunch of recipes and made a throw-down skordalia at the same time I was making the potato pancakes for the German sausages meal. Just a small batch, but enough to taste that night and use in quick appetizers a couple of times during the week. It wasn’t perfect, but close enough to my treasured taste memory to know that I can get there.
I’ll share the recipe with you when I have it just right.
For now, check out what I did with it. The top plate below is pickled cherry peppers (from a jar) stuffed with skordalia, topped with red onion and fresh oregano.
The bottom plate isn’t skordalia, but went nicely with the Greek-inspired appetizer. Our appetizers were quite a cultural mix; the skewers on the bottom plate were manchego, leberkase chunks (from Kuby’s, the German deli) and halved grape tomatoes, with olive oil, oregano and red onions.
I served the skordalia last night as an appetizer again, this time as a riff on the old celery boats.
The Grill-Meister had a tiny bit of sharp cheddar left from the paninis he was making, so I snagged it and mixed it into the skordalia along with a few red pepper flakes. Then I topped them with fresh oregano and red peppers from my garden and diced yellow bell peppers. This approach is a keeper!
There will be more fun with skordalia here soon. 😊
If you have a treasured and time-tested recipe for skordalia or any other Greek treasure, I’d love to try it!
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