Earlier this week, Greece celebrated the 200th Anniversary of Greek Independence (March 21, 1821). History will show you that that were earlier attempts to gain freedom from Ottomans during their 400+ years of occupation and…other parts of Greece were liberated later (Dodecanese Islands in 1949).
March 25th is also Evangelismos (Feast of the Annunciation) and on this day, Greeks will eat fried cod with skordalia, a bread or potato based aoili.
There are many regional variances and my favourite is Pine Nut Skordalia. I’ve had three times in my life: the first time in Constantinople, the second time on the island of Lesvos and the third time when I made it this dish for a Greek Supper Club.
Pine Nuts are a little pricey but not out of reach and the recipe is only asking for 1/2 cup.
The preparation of the fish is a way to enjoy the fried crispy texture with a potato crust using grated potatoes. The contrast of succulent cod fish with a crusty potato crust is striking. The pine nut Skordalia is the garlicky “icing” on the cake er cod.
Potato Crusted Cod With Pine Nut Skordalia
For the Pine Nut Skordalia
4 slices of stale bread
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sunflower oil
For the Cod
4 cod fillets, boneless/skinless
approx. 2 tsp. sea salt
1/2/ tsp. black pepper
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 Russet/baking potato
- To make the Skordalia by soak the stale bread in water then use all the might of your hands to squeeze it free of excess water. Now place in a mortar with the smashed garlic, some coarse sea salt and the wine vinegar. Now pound the mixture into a paste with your pestle then add the pine nuts and pound into the paste.
- Now pound and swirl the pestle into the mixture while adding the oil in increments. Keep adding oil when the previous amount has been absorbed. Adjust seasoning with salt, vinegar and reserve.
- Rub your fish with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, lemon zest, set aside.
- Peel your potato and use the side of a box grater with the large holes to grate. Place the grated potato in a tea towel, gather up the edges to make a pouch and twist with your hands to squeeze out excess liquid.
- Transfer grated potato to a bowl along with one cracked egg, salt, pepper and toss to coat.
- Spread a thin layer of potato topping on each fillet.
- Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Cut some parchment paper into squares that are 1 1/2 times large than the fillet’s surface and place each on top of the potatoes. Add a little oil into the pan and place the fish parchment side down and brown for 2-3 minutes.
- Carefully remove the fish from the pan and invert (parchment side up). Allow to cool and remove and discard the parchment (you should have nicely browned potato scales on the fish). Finish in a preheated 425F oven for 10-12 minutes or until fish is opaque.
- Spoon Skordalia on your plate, place some steamed asparagus on top, then the cod and garnish of your choice.
Top Tip: If you wish to use a food processor, place the bread the processor along with the garlic, pine nuts and vinegar. Run on high until smooth, then pour a slow and stead stream of oil. Add salt to taste.
Note: Try blanched white almonds instead for your skordalia
© 2021, Peter Minaki. All rights reserved.
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