Bakaliaros Skordalia

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Today is March 25th, the celebration of Greek Independence Day and it draws inspiration from one of the holiest days for the Greeks, the Annuciation of the Theotokos. On this day, Gabriel the archangel announced to Mary that she will bear a child.img_6672

The Bishop of Patra, Germanos sparked the struggle for Greek Independance from Ottoman rule on that day, back in 1821. To this day, cries of  “Zito H Ellas” (Long live Greece) and “Eleftheria H Thanatos” (freedom or death) are still heard today.

Greeks were under Ottoman rule for more than 400 years but we resisted all attempts by the Turks at assimilation. For eight years, until 1829 when Sultan Muhammed II was under seige by Russian troops at the gates of Constantinople, Greek independance was won with the Treaty of Andrianople.img_6673

This is a mere fraction of Greece’s long and storied history. My parents, aunts  & uncles recall how history class was the toughest subject. Whenever I visit Greece, I’m in awe, not only of it’s sheer natural beauty or it’s warm, hospitable people.

The food and the perfect climate are natural magnets to this land of “milk and honey” but what gets me each and every time is the thought of buried treasures everywhere.

Ruins and cities buried by thousands of years. The generations that lived off the land and seas, the great people of history who walked on the land I stand on, the wars and struggles that brought Greece to where it is today and churches, graves and elderly who can still speak of this glorious past.

It’s Spring time and if you haven’t already decided on a vacation for the year, I encourage you to visit Greece. The food and drink will satiate you but the history, culture and people will change you. You will come back being a little more Greek, a little more humble and a whole lot more appreciative of the simpler things in life.

One of your best resources for investigating a trip to Greece is the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO). The site is available in eleven languages, offers advice on resort vacations, trips to the islands, agrotourism, conventions, historical sites and a listing of cultural events around Greece.

Toronto also boasts of having our very own GNTO office and I recently paid a visit to their offices. I was greeted by the friendly staff and although I know alot about visiting Greece, I got the sense that I had stepped onto Greek soil the moment I entered the premise.img_3601

The GNTO was also kind enough to give me a cookbook that I could give away to my readers. The book is titled, ” Greek Creative Cuisine” and this hardcover has some classics with some modern flare.

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On to the dish…Bakaliaros Skordalia. This dish is served all year’ round but it’s tradtion to serve it especially on March 25th. Bakaliaro is cod fish and Skordalia is a garlic aioli, most often made with bread or potato.

As an accompaniment, I also like a plate of Vlita (amaranth) that’s boil until tender, strained and then seasoned with sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.img_3585

Traditionally, salt cod is used for this dish and at least one full day of preparation is needed where the salted cod is soaked in several water baths to extract the salt. If you don’t have access to salt cod, the other usual fish for frying like haddock, halibut or pollock will also work wonderfully here.

Bakaliaros Skordalia (μπακαλιαρος σκορδαλια)

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Potato Skordaliaimg_3580

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Bakaliaros Skordalia

approx. 1lb. of salt cod fillets (soaked & water changed 3-4 times until salt is removed)

1 bottle of beer

 3/4  cup of all purpose flour

3/4 cup of corn starch

salt and pepper to taste

flour for dredging

sunflower oil for frying

Potato Skordalia

3 Russet (starchy) potatoes

5-6 cloves of garlic, minced

approx. 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil

good wine vinegar to taste

sea salt to taste

  1. Place your potatoes (skins on) in a pot of water that’s lightly salted. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender. Allow the potatoes to cool or drain and replace the pot with cold water to speed the cooling process.
  2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel with the back of your knife and and pass through a ricer. Add your minced garlic and mix with a fork.  Pour a slow stream of olive oil while continuing to stir. Add sea salt and some wine vinegar and taste and adjust  seasoning. Cover with cling wrap and set aside (or place in the fridge if making much ahead of time).
  3. After you’ve sufficiently soaked your salt cod, pat dry and cut into small portions. Season with salt and pepper and dredge in flour and set aside.
  4. Add all your dry ingredients in to a bowl and mix with a fork. Now while whisking, gradually add the beer to the flour until you get a thick batter (slightly thinner than pancake batter). Drink any remaining beer.
  5. Heat your oil (about 2 inches deep) to about 360F and then dip your cod fillets in the batter then place carefully into the hot oil. Fry in batches until golden brown. Place the fried fillets on a platter covered in paper towels. Sprinkle some sea salt on them, serve with lemon wedges, Skordalia and some Vlita.

© 2009 – 2016,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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143 Comments for “Bakaliaros Skordalia”

says:

Just looking to that fried food makes me drool.
I should look for salted fish. I have read in a lot of spanish recipes too that they use them. Never seen salted cod, it could be also i haven’t really looked for them when i go for shopping.

says:

Hi Peter – it is a pleasure to read about your love of Greece. And I appreciate learning some of the history.

Could the beer batter crust on your cod be any more perfect?
LL

says:

I love your blog. Reminds me of my two trips to Greece and the wonderful people I met, the incredible food I ate and feeling of such history. Please add my name to the drawing for the book. Thanks!
-drew-

says:

You Greeks have all the cool history :)

Love all of these recipes, but that Cod especially looks great. Will have to check out Kevin’s beer batter recipe!

Elsee

says:

Your postings are always educational, Peter. Thank you so much for the history & the delicious recipes. (an April Fools Day drawing?lol)

Pantelis

says:

Yiasou Peter
My wife and I are going to try out these recipes on the weekend
If the food is good it may tame her hot Cyprian temper!. But that’s one reason I love her the other is her cooking
Ahhh I am a lucky man

PP

says:

It’s not fair! I have been craving baccala for months and have had a hard time finding it. This just rubs it in! In Sydney I used to live in an Italian area where the fishmonger had a vat of ready-soaked baccala ready to go when the mood struck.

says:

Happy Independence Day!
And great post, Bakaliaros w/ Skordalia is one of my absolutely favs! I was actually planning on stopping by the new Greek restaurant close to work to pick some up for dinner! Although, I think I’d much rather come by you and eat all of yours!! :)

Ann

says:

I miss the wonderful Greek food I used to be able to get when I lived in Chicago. I now live in a small town in Texas and must make my own if I’m to have it. I’d love to have the cookbook!

says:

Ηi Peter!!
It’s a great day for Greece today, one af our biggesr National Holidays!!
And of course our tradiotional food for that day is bakaliaros-skordalia.
Your bakaliaros looks like “loukoumas” just perfect!!
We also had bakaliaros-skordalia today for lunch!!
Happy Independence Day!!
Xronia Polla!!

says:

I’ve got to admit, my first brush with skordalia was life-changing. Helps that I’m a complete garlic FIEND, I suppose :)

Lovely photos as always, Peter! That fish looks amazing.

says:

A very sentimental post Peter! You’ve given a great description of the history and its significance. Bring on the bakaliaro with plenty of skordalia!

Jenifer

says:

I’ve made Skordalia a couple times, and this was by far the best one. Thank you once again Peter!

PS – we might be going to Greece next March! Hooray!!

gwynne

says:

You have no idea how much I look forward to your blog each day. Your recipes, accompanying travelogue, and beautiful photography are a little “stay-cation” for me! Thanks for brightening my day!(and I have made many of your dishes to great reviews!).

says:

Being Italian I am very familiar with baccala (salt cod) unfortunately I don’t get to prepare it often as I am the only one in the house that will eat it. After seeing this post, I think someone will be eating out alone in the very near future.

Loved this history behind it as well!

says:

Happy Independence Day! I am sure that for all peoples around the world the day their countries reached independence from another is one of the most important celebrations. Just by reading your blog and the way you talk about Greece I want now to visit! I’ll start saving for it. And great food and pictures, as always :)

says:

Happy Independence Day! What a yummy meal, too! That aioli is different from what I’m accustomed to, and it looks delicious! The fish looks so good, too. The greens are what really draws me in, as the look of them reminds me of the bitter greens I used to eat as a kid. YUM!

says:

I love beer battered food, especially mushrooms! The cod loo0ks very good and crunch and the potatoes are a fantastic side. I would love a trip to Greece!

I also enjoyed the trip to the Greek market.

Anna

says:

I have been craving fish all week, even though I had a slab of smoked salmon, baked halibut and tuna salad! Now I must have bakaliaro with skordalia but it will have to wait a day or so because psarosoupa is on the menu tomorrow! I don’t question my cravings I just give in…hehehe!

says:

wow…one doesn’t check the reader till late in the date and becomes #51. Happy Independence Day to you and your family. You are the best advertisement for Greece. Your enthusiasm bubbles over and your dishes entice!

says:

those pictures are just gorgeous. i love your posts with the fun cultural facts. i have always wanted to go to greece. i’m so close everytime i’m in italy but never make it across the water. this food and the pictures have me dying to go!!

says:

(No need to enter me in the draw, Peter!)

Just wanted to comment on that delicious meal. Especially the vlita (my family generically refers to as horta, same thing?) which I can eat mounds of, covered in olive oil and lemon and sea salt.

And indeed, Greece’s honey and warmpth draw me in, but what makes it most my patrida are my grandparents’ stories – papou’s tales of German occupation in the war, and fishing boats, and trips to the mill. The history brings the land alive.

says:

Since I’m lazy and busy with thesis, I thank you re file mou for this great recipe. Methavrio tha magirepsw. I’ll make this recipe.

Xronia polla. Happy Greek Independence Day. And peace on earth.

says:

A cookbook like this would be a great addition to my collection of cookbooks- I don’t have anything with Greek recipes at all! Great post!

says:

I’ve been meaning to make fish and chips… or some sort of battered fried fish soon. Yours looks perfect! (Like I expect anything less). And I do want to try the potato skordalia too. I think I DESERVE to win don’t you? ;-)

says:

Peter, I pray one day that I get the chance to visit Greece and let me again say what an excellent job you do at promoting your awesome homeland.

The Bakaliaros reminds of two kinds of fish fritters made in Barbados and Trinidad. I’ve bookmarked yours to try. Tell me, what is I want to make it with fresh cod, will that be okay?

Dorian

says:

I am planning a trip to Greece myself for this coming fall and I love your blog and the inspiration you provide to each of us to “go Greek”.

says:

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Ruth

http://besttoddler.com

says:

Sigh, the closest I will get to Greece in the next several years is the Danforth..
But bring on the Greek fish and mashies! I love Greek flavourings, especially in the spring.

Val

says:

Beer batter fish is absolutely my favorite fish recipe & 1 that I can’t make to save my soul! Apparently I was born without the “Deep Fry Skill” gene.

Love your Greek history lesson & pictures. Incredible! Thank you for sharing. ;o}

says:

I may not eat fish, but my eyes still bugged out pretty nicely at hte first photo because all I could think was, “OHH YAY. FRIED THINGS!” :-D

I love your potatoes – mash with a tang. Great idea.

Leslie

says:

I love your pic’s. But I would really like to see you in that outfit of the guard. Do you have one?
I would also like a copy of the book..thanks Pete

says:

Oooo…no April Fool’s, I would LOVE to win a copy of this book! I’ll have to give Kevin’s beer batter a try—you make it sound delicious.

says:

That is one of the nicest plates of battered fish I’ve seen, but, then, I always feel humbled by your awesome cooking skills. I’m sure I won’t win your book, but some lucky soul will surely enjoy it!

Vivian

says:

Dear Peter,

I have a number of Greek cookbooks among my collection including “Olive and Caper” by Hoffman (excellent) but another would be very welcome. Funny how the base words for various foods can be found in so many languages…Bakalarios…Bacalao?! It’s fun to be a food sleuth!

Joe R

says:

I have never tried salted cod, but it looks very good, especially with skordalia. I always loved when my yiayia made skordalia for us!!!!

says:

I’ve never seen amaranth leaves before – I’m intrigued. And now I’ll leave it to you to inform the U.K. about who really invented the fish in fish and chips.

Paul Costopoulos

says:

Got your blog through a Roman blog and a referrence from a US Arizonan correspondant on that blog. I like cooking and I will regularly follow your recipes from now on.
Imagine going through Rome to reach Toronto. The Net is a wonderful place.

Deborah R

says:

I haven’t tried much Greek cooking – perhaps if I win this book I’ll become a convert! Thanks for the chance.

says:

Might I start out by saying that your blog looks beautiful, so colorful, so “Greeklike”! You’re a wealth of knowledge Peter, and do your homeland proud! Now pass me some of that fish please!

Stephen

says:

Thoughts of Bakaliaro tiganito and skodalia transport me back to my aunt’s in Lagonisi. I can almost smell the food cooking. Thanks.

Lisa (Elisabeth)

says:

Hi Peter, I just joined your blog about a month ago, and I love it! I am fasting for lent, and I loved the Lenten pizza! Thank you so much for all you do!
Thank you for the giveaway, too :)

says:

Happy Independence Day!! I knew as soon as I saw that photo … it had to be salt cod! We LOVE salt cod. I have not seen a salt cod recipe using beer in the batter; cannot wait to try this one out.

Would love to dream away with this lovely book! We have yet to go to Greece!

Stella van Hees

says:

Για σας κυριε Μηνακη,

Σας χαιρετω απο την Ολλανδια.
Ειμαι μια Ελληνιδα που μενω εδω και 20 χρονια εδω!!
Τυχαια βρεθηκα στο blog σας,
μεσω του blog της κυριας Nancy Gaifyllia, απο το About.com

http://greekfood.about.com/od/soupsstews/r/mayieritsa1.htm

Δεν ντρεπομαι να σας πω οτι οταν διαβαζα την ιστορια για το 1981, σκουπισα ενα δακρι μου, και με κανατε να ειμαι περιφανη που ειμαι Ελληνιδα!.
Να εισαστε καλα και να σας ευχαριστω παρα πολυ.

Ομως και η συνταγη σας πρεπει να ειναι υπεροχη, θα την φτιαξω αυριο!
Θα τα ξαναπουμε.

Πολους χαιρετισμους και καλη σας μερα
απο την
Στελλα van Hees-κηπουρού

says:

[…] I found some frozen soft-shell crab at the market and with my living in Toronto (about 12 hours drive from the Atlantic), I knew I had come across a rare treat to be enjoyed…soft-shell crab. Simplicity rules here with a couple of twists to some classic Greek dishes: I’m using my recipe for dredging calamari and applying it to soft-shell crab and rather than serve the crab with an aoli, I’m opting for a Skordalia. Skordalia is a dip/condiment made with either bread or cooked potatoes and spiked with  raw garlic and made light and fluffy with the addition of extra-virgin Greek olive oil. Skordalia is classically served with battered & fried salt cod fish. […]

says:

The first time I tried skordalia and battered fish was in Athens. I can’t remember the name of the places where they sell nothing but this dish but it seems like it was just yesterday!!

says:

[…] 10. A custom across the country on this day is to eat crispy, fried cod fish with garlic sauce (Bakaliaros skordalia). This has to do with the Lent before Eastern, where no animals or animal products should be eaten. However the Orthodox Church allowed an exception for the celebration of the Annunciation and that it the Cod fish! Here is the recipe for Bakaliaros skordalia. […]

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