Bakaliáros skordaliá - fried salt cod with garlicky potato puree
Apr 1, 2013
It may sound strange that a product from the North Atlantic Ocean like salted cod became the key ingredient of one of the most famous traditional dishes in Greece.
Bakaliáros (cod) was first imported to Greece via England at the end of 19th century at the same time the famous and tasty Greek black and sultana raisins were being exported to England. Quite a fair trade I would say. Salted cod became available to a wide range of the population especially in the mountainous regions of the country where fresh fish was difficult to find before the invention of fridges. Salted cod actually came to be called ''mountain fish''.
In the Peloponnese especially around the port city of Patras where sultanas were (and still are) cultivated, salt cod became the base of many creative dishes. The most simple and the most famous of all recipes is fried cod served with skordaliá, a potato puree flavored with garlic, lots of garlic, and olive oil. Skordaliá is made with bread or walnuts in some parts of Greece, but boiled and then mashed potatoes are the most popular base for this side dish. This garlicky puree can also be served with fried zucchinis or cooked vegetables like beet roots.
For the skordaliá:
500gr potatoes peeled and cut in chunks
1 cup (225ml) olive oil
8 (or to taste) garlic cloves peeled and mashed
salt to taste
2Tsps lemon juice or vinegar
Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 20min. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool slightly. Peel the potatoes and pass them through a food mill into a bowl. Mix the mashed potatoes with the garlic, olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar until combined.
For the fried cod:
1 piece of salted cod fillet which has been re hydrated* is enough for 4 persons
or use 4 frozen cod fillets ready to use.
1 cup flour
2 cups olive or vegetable oil
In a frying pan over medium heat pour the oil and heat it until ready for frying
Cut the cod fillet into individual portions and press them between two pieces of kitchen paper to absorb any excess water, dredge in flour, and fry in batches in hot oil until golden and crispy on both sides. Remove the cooked fillets to a plate lined with kitchen paper andserve immediately with skordaliá.
*How to rehydrate a salted cod fillet:
Salted cod fillets are sold already cleaned but covered with plenty of salt. To rehydrate it and remove the salt, you cut the fillet in portions , place them in a large basin with enough cold water to cover it by 5 cm. Place the basin in the fridge if the weather is hot and change the water4 times a day. Usually 24 hours are enough if the fillets are not very thick , but to be on the safe side you can cut a little piece from a fillet and fry it to taste it, if it is still salty soak it for one more day. Finally remove the fillets, rinse them and use them for your recipe. If you don't plan to use the fillets immediately after rehydrating you can keep them in the freezer for a few months and always have them ready to use.