If you like strong, savoury flavours as much as I do, Skordalia is for you. It’s a robust, delicious, and, until you know what’s in it, slightly perplexing Grecian garlic and potato dip, which definitely qualifies as a ‘more than the sum of its parts’ food.
The closest thing I can compare it to is hummus, but the texture is different, and the taste is much more intense and satisfying because of the amount of garlic and lemon in it. With the chopped walnuts on top it tastes simultaneously more exotic yet more wintery than hummus too, making it perfect for this time of year, when the walnuts are cheap and fresh and still easy to crack open.
The Greeks serve it with much more garlic than I’ve dared to use here (unsurprisingly enough the word ‘Skordalia’ comes from the Greek word for garlic, ‘skórdo’) and, since they make it so strong, they eat it alongside fried fish rather than as a dip.
It can be made with a number of different bulky bases, including potatoes, bread and ground walnuts, or a mix of the three. I decided to go for potato, as that seemed to give the smoothest results. Serve it with breadsticks, pitta bread and raw vegetables.
Serves 4 as part of a mezze; 6 as a dip.
500g floury potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
100ml light flavoured, good quality olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Smoked sea salt or ordinary sea salt
80g shelled + chopped fresh walnuts
Cook the potatoes in salted water with their skins on. Once cooked, drain and peel. Mash the garlic with a fork and a pinch of salt. Press the peeled potato through a potato ricer with the garlic. Beat in the lemon juice and oil into the potato and garlic little by little. Season to taste. Add more oil or lemon juice as required, along with a tablespoon of warm water if it seems thick. Spread it onto a plate with a knife, pour a generous glug of olive oil over it and sprinkle the diced walnuts on top. Best served still slightly warm, but if you’re making it ahead of time just stir a tablespoon of hot water in before serving.