This dish is a play on a Greek favourite – roasted beet salad with lots of garlic. This is a side dish enjoyed my many and more creative types have even come up with doing a mash-up (pun intended) of a beet skordalia.
Inspired by a dish from the Kokkari cookbook and restaurant in San Francisco, this roasted beet and skordalia is the perfect dish to serve alongside with fried fish and seafood. A traditional skordalia is made with a mortar and pestle where either soaked day old bread or boiled potatoes are pulverized with lots of garlic and emulsified with extra-virgin olive oil.
One of the best skordalias I’ve tasted was at Artistou’s Bakalarkia across from the Port of Thessaloniki. Aristou’s skordalia was made of bread and mashed walnuts. My version of skordalia here uses blanched almonds and boiled potatoes.
When making a skordalia, use a mortar and pestle – NEVER use a mixer or food processor….unless you want wall paper paste.
Almond & potato skordalia is becomes a ménage à trois withe the roasted beets and when you add the mixed fried seafood, it’s simply an orgy of flavours…washed down with Ouzo or a crisp, white Greek wine.
Roasted Beets With Almond-Potato Skordalia
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/4-1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2-2/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 medium sized beets
extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2-3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
blanched almond slices
- Pre-heat your oven to 400F. Place your beets in the center of a large sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle them with olive oil. Tightly wrap the beets and place on a baking sheet and place in your pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (still warm)
- Unwrap the foil and discard. Use the back of a knife to peel off the skin and slice your beets into wedges. Season the sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and fresh thyme leaves. Toss well and reserve.
- In the meantime, place your potatoes in a medium pot and fill with water. Add some salt and boil until fork tender. Strain and replace with cold water to help cool the potatoes.
- Add your garlic cloves, blanched almonds, some coarse sea salt and splash of wine vinegar into a mortar and mash into a paste with the pestle. As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skins off with the back of a knife, quarter and add into the mortar and mash with the pestle. Add extra-virgin olive oil in increments while mixing with your pestle. Taste along the way, adding salt and red wine vinegar to taste.
- To plate, serve the potato/almond skordalia on a platter and top with wedges of dressed beets. Spoon some of the beet juices on top, garnish with sliced scallions and sliced almonds.
- Serve with a mixed seafood platter. Garlicky skordalia and roasted beets are a perfect match to fried seafood. Pair with a Kir Yianni Samaropetra 2011 Roditis.
* For the fried array of seafood, I used this Ouzo and Souroti sparkling mineral water to make a batter that is light and crisp. Here I have shrimp, calamari and cod fillets.
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