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Skordalia (Greece)


One of the special pleasures in life is a cold spread coating a piece of warm, fresh-from-the-oven bread, and this one from Greece is my favorite.


It’s fiendishly easy and magnificently garlicky. If you don’t like garlic, then give this a pass. Not for vampires.


Basically, you boil potatoes, and mash them until they’re smooth. I find it a lot easier to boil potatoes you’ve already cut into chunks.


In the meantime, you make a puree of garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and an additional thickener. Almonds are standard, but if you’re nut-free, bread crumbs will do in a pinch. Puree the garlic in the lemon juice - the acid will remove some of the garlic bite while keeping the flavor.


Then spoon it all together. If it’s too thick, a little water will do, but not too much. You want this to be thick enough to spread onto something, but not thin like mayonnaise or anything like that. Slather it onto bread or fish or basically whatever you want. It will be worth it.


Serves 4



  • 1 pound (450 g) of russet potatoes (2 or so), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup whole almonds (or substitute bread crumbs)

  • 4 to 6 medium cloves garlic (the more garlic, the more intense - start small at first)

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90ml) white wine vinegar and/or fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) extra-virgin olive oil

  • Minced flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

  • Warmed pita and/or bread, for serving



  1. Set cubed potatoes in a colander and rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Transfer to a large saucepan and cover with cold water by at least 2 inches. Season water with salt until it is salty like tears. Bring water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until a knife easily pierces potatoes with no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain potatoes in colander, then rinse with hot running water for 30 seconds.

  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine almonds or bread crumbs, garlic, 2 tablespoons (30ml) cold water, and wine vinegar and/or lemon juice. Process until garlic and almonds are reduced to a paste. Season with salt.

  3. Spread potatoes in an even layer on a baking sheet and let the steam evaporate. You want to get as much of the water out as possible.

  4. Thoroughly mash potatoes with a potato masher in a large mixing bowl. (If you have a fancy ricer, feel free to use that.)

  5. Stir in olive oil and almond-garlic mixture until thoroughly incorporated. If the oil does not fully blend with the potatoes, stir in more cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well, until mixture is emulsified. Season with salt, then garnish with parsley and serve immediately with warm pita or bread, or chill until ready to serve. It really is best chilled.


Recipe adapted from

Photo by Drew Vahrenkamp

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