If hummus is too humdrum for your crudité platter, veer off course a little and try skordalia. Skordalia is both a condiment and a dip in Greek cuisine. It’s usually served as a condiment with fried fish or veggies, or as a dip with pita. It combines the comfort of mashed potatoes with the nuttiness of toasted almonds, the tang of lemon, and the bite of garlic. It can be served once it cools to room temp, but the flavors meld so much nicer the following day. Disclaimer: Do not plan on kissing anyone after eating this. Unless they love garlic as much as you, it will not go well. You’ve been warned.
Slice 2 cloves of garlic and put them and the potatoes into a medium saucepan. Cover by an inch with cold water, add plenty of salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
While the potatoes are cooking, put the remaining garlic, 1/2 cup of the almonds, lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon of salt into the bowl of a mini food processor and and process until a paste forms. Scrape the sides of the processor down. Add the oil and lemon juice and process, pulsing at first, until smooth.
While the potatoes are still hot, rice them (and the sliced garlic) into a medium mixing bowl. Add the almond mixture to the potatoes and mix well. Thin with reserved water to the thickness of hummus (you may not need all the water). Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the skordalia to one or more crocks or bowls. Let cool to room temperature or cover and chill until ready to serve. The skordalia flavors will develop if you allow it to sit 8 hours to overnight.
Just before serving, adjust salt if necessary, drizzle with some more oil and garnish with the remaining almonds. Serve with crudité, pita, naan and/or other bread.
Be sure to use a really good quality extra virgin olive oil, as it’s a key ingredient.
It’s preferable to use a ricer for the potatoes, but a potato masher will work in a pinch.
Not a garlic lover? Cut the garlic by half. It will still be delicious.