Skordalia: The Perfect Dip for Vegetables

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Skordalia with fresh vegetables makes a perfect summer meal.

This is the time of year when supper is easily just a plate of sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and vinegar and another plate of sliced fresh vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers) or blanched vegetables (green beans, waxed beans, broccoli).

The vegetables, of course, require a dip.  But not just any dip.  If you tell me your go-to dip for fresh vegetables (crudités) is bottled (or even homemade) ranch dressing, I will tell you are undoubtedly suffering from dip fatigue.

Have you thought about making skordalia—that magical Greek dip of potato, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt?  It’s vegan, it’s dairy free, it’s easy to make and more delicious than its list of ingredients might make you think—and it’s the perfect way to celebrate a bounteous harvest of garlic.

I love growing garlic. It is planted in the fall, when all hope of more harvests disappears from Northern gardens.  Then it is the first sign of life when the snow retreats.  The July harvest yields a space in the garden for fall crops, like another planting of beans or kale. 

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 Lots and lots of garlic makes skordalia super tasty.

Lots and lots of garlic makes skordalia super tasty.

Be generous with the garlic and mince it as finely as you can.

If you love garlic like I do, you can use a whole bulb of garlic in this recipe for skordalia. Does that scare you?  Keep in mind that Aristophanes, the Greek playwright of Lysistrata fame, wrote that garlic gave courage. Actually, not that much courage is required: the potato and olive oil mellow the garlic, while the fresh lemon juice cuts the richness.  (Don’t make the mistake of using bottled lemon juice—I did that once out of sheer laziness and the flavor was all wrong.)

Make skordalia with high-quality ingredients and it becomes a magical dip greater than the sum of its parts.  It’s a perfect dip for vegetables.

The magic of skordalia is in its silky smooth texture, which you get if you use a stand mixer. My Kitchen Aid was given to my mother as a wedding fgift in 1941.

Skordalia Recipe

Makes about 2 cups

1 1/2 pounds baking or russet potatoes (2 to 4 potatoes), peeled and cut into chunks

6 garlic cloves, very finely minced

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (juice of about 2 lemons)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

1. Put the potatoes in a small saucepan and cover with salted water.   Bring to a boil and boil until completely tender, about 15 minutes.   Drain well.

2. Transfer the potatoes, garlic, and lemon juice to the bowl of a standing mixer and mash.   Beat over medium speed until the potatoes are smooth.  

3. With the mixer at medium speed, very slowly pour in the oil until the mixture is velvety smooth and the oil has been fully incorporated.

4. Taste and add season with the salt as needed.   Serve at room temperature.

 Recipe is adapted from Serving Up the Harvest.  ©Andrea Chesman, 2004, 2007.  All rights reserved.