Skordalia- (skor DAHL yah) A greek condiment made from pureed baked potato, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, parsley and sometimes breadcrumbs or ground nuts. Eaten as a dip with breads or vegetables, it can also be used on top of broiled meats.
Potato Cake- (po TAY to kayke) A hearty and delicious meal made from leftover skordalia (or other mashed potato type item) that is fried in a hot skillet until crispy and browned.
Mmmmm….I love mashed potato cakes. I originally found a procedure to make them in a Sara Moulton cookbook and now I often will hide the leftover mashed potatoes in an effort to save them for a crunchy potato cake breakfast.
Then along came Skordalia. I had a small plateful at a local greek restaurant and wanted to lick the thing clean, it tasted so good. But I was in public so I restrained myself. The next day I hit the internet search to find a recipe to make for myself. The result wasn’t too bad- it wasn’t like the restaurant version- but it was palatable after the ingredients were allowed to hang in the fridge to get cozy and acquainted after being rapidly introduced in the food processor. The longer the stuff sits, the better it seems to taste, but like all potato leftovers in my house, I dreamed of a hot and tasty cake.
The procedure is pretty simple; form leftover mashed potato into a uniform sized cake and dust each side with flour. Heat a combination of oil and butter in a skillet, and when hot, gently place the cake in the pan. Don’t move it or disturb it until the bottom has achieved a nice crunchy browned crust- it could take 10 minutes or more- then carefully turn it over and allow the other side to brown as well. Keep the heat around the medium mark. Once cooked, allow to cool before eating- if it’s like some of mine, the center of the cake becomes a creamy molten flow of cooked potato and can be painful if your patience is lacking. Try it with a slice of seared ham, some eggs and a cup of strong coffee. Breakfast just can’ t be beat when there’s a potato cake on the table.
(jump for recipe and notes)
Skordalia- from About.Com Greek Food
- 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes for boiling
- 6-12 cloves of garlic, minced or grated (to taste)
- 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup of good quality red or white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
Peel the potatoes and boil in salted water (add the 1 tablespoon of salt to the water) until well done (easily pierced with a fork). Sprinkle with pepper and mash.
With a hand mixer, purée the potatoes and garlic until well mixed, about 30-45 seconds. Still puréeing, slowly add the olive oil and vinegar, alternating between them, tasting as you go, until the mixture is smooth. Skorthalia should be creamy and thick. If it gets too thick, add a little cold water (not more than 1/4 cup).
Yield: About 2-3 cups
To prepare by hand
Mash potatoes with garlic. Drizzle in the olive oil and vinegar slowly, alternating between them, mashing well. Add pepper. This version may be grainier, but the taste is wonderful!
Note: Skordalia is a matter of taste. Some prefer a mild garlic taste, while others prefer a strong garlic taste. If the taste is too strong, adjust the quantities of potatoes or bread up a bit. If the taste is not strong enough, increase the garlic.
NOTES FROM KATE’S KITCHEN-
I roasted my garlic before adding it. I think raw garlic is killer strong and don’t always care for the seeping of it’s personality through my pores for the next day or so. The roasting process calms down the vivid taste of the garlic and mellows it greatly- this version of Skordalia was terrific with roasted BUT it was much too strong with that much vinegar. I would cut it back drastically as it simply overpowered the dish. Use some lemon juice and some good white balsamic vinegar combined for the best flavor profile- start with maybe a tablespoon of each and then taste before adding more. This was excellent with raw veggies and flatbread. Do not use a blender or food processor to mash the spuds- you’ll get glue, I promise. Mash them by hand or use a hand mixer and don’t over-do it.