Skordalia

skordalia

Following on from my review of Kew’s Global Kitchen Cookbook, today I’m featuring one of the recipes from the book.

It’s one of the easier ones, and I was drawn to it because it required some stale bread as a main ingredient, and I happened to have a large chunk of sourdough bread that had headed that way!

I’d intended to use it for croutons (I find sourdough makes great croutons), until I realised it was so hard I risked damaging my precious Global knife trying to cut it up. This recipe actually requires you to soak the stale bread until it becomes soggy. Perfect!

Skordalia is a bread based sauce from Greece which goes well with grilled veggies, fish or chicken. It derives its name from skordo, which is the Greek word for garlic.

I’ve never been a particular fan of traditional British bread sauce, which is rich in milk and butter, but this Mediterranean version looks a lot more appealing. It would make a great dip for summer picnics, and in winter, why not use it instead of bread sauce with a traditional roast?

Here the recipe author used ground almonds, but it appears that ground walnuts are also used in skordalia.

Another suggestion from the author is that it can be whisked into fresh chicken stock to make a tasty garlic broth. An interesting idea, but I think you’d need a really good, full bodied stock for that, as the dip is quite mild in flavour.

There are many recipes that have caught my eye in Kew’s new cookbook. The following five are ones I’m highly likely to be making in the coming months. Stay tuned!

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Parsnip Tart (p32)
I’ve made countless carrot cakes over the years, but it’s never occurred to me to use parsnips, which are of course, much sweeter than carrots. The filling for this simple-looking sweet tart also includes honey, cinnamon, eggs and lemons.

Pine Nut Crusted Orange Cake (p35)
Sounds like it will look as pretty as a picture and taste divine. Pine nuts, we learn from the book, were first brought by legionaires to Britain under Roman rule. This cake also contains olive oil, which I think is a fabulous ingredient for making rich, moist cakes.

Grilled Quail with Rose Petal Sauce (p59)
I probably won’t use quail, perhaps chicken instead. The sauce sounds like a great show-off sauce for a dinner party. It requires rose petal jam which is apparently available in Arabic food stores (and I’m sure online). I have a feeling I saw Rick Stein learning how to make something similar on his recent India series. The sauce also contains garlic, cumin, lemon juice and olive oil.

Cincinatti Chilli (p120)
As with a Mexican mole sauce (I first tried this in New York, and it was rich, unusual and delicious), this chilli recipe contains chocolate (here in the form of cocoa powder), as well as Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Using kidneys beans and ground beef, it sounds like a perfect, heart-warming winter dish.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s Gratin of Pumpkin (p131)
For art lovers and foodies everywhere. Who could resist this? Apparently the artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec was an accomplished cook and invented many dishes, including this one. It’s a simple dish containing pumpkin, tomatoes, onions and breadcrumbs, and I might be tempted to spice it up a bit, but I just love the history behind it.

Recipe: Skordalia

Ingredients

100g good quality stale bread
50g ground almonds
4 cloves of garlic, minced
150ml olive oil
15-30ml white wine vinegar
Sea salt and ground black pepper to season

Method

Soak the bread in water to soften it and then squeeze out the excess moisture.

Put the bread in a food processor with the garlic and almonds and slowly trickle in the olive oil. When well blended, stop processing and add the vinegar and seasoning to taste.

It’s suggested that you can add a few tablespoons of hot water if your prefer a runnier sauce.

Serve with grilled fish, chicken or vegetables.

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