Greece's national condiment

Greece’s national condiment is skordalia. It is a thick sauce or dip that is produced by blending garlic paste, olive oil, and a starchy base, such as potato or bread, into a puree that can be either gritty or smooth, depending on the manner of preparation. Skordalia can be made using potato, bread, or a combination of bread and walnuts (or almonds). You’ll get a smoother consistency with potatoes than you will with bread skordalia which is always a bit grainy.

But since my exposure to skordalia has almost exclusively been with the potato variety, that’s what I tend to favour and what I’m offering here today. It tastes well as a snack, an appetiser with pita or toast, or when paired with roasted meats or veggies. You won’t consume nearly as much of it as you would with traditional mashed potatoes due to its strong garlic flavour, so a little goes a long way.


How to prepare Skordalia

I had to choose between using Yukon gold potatoes and Russets potatoes. After series of test with both potatoes, I found out that Russets potatoes produced a lighter and creamier dip, this was exactly what I hoped to achieve.

I prepared the potatoes using our standard mashed potato technique, which involves peeling, chopping, and washing them to remove any surface starches before boiling them in salted water until soft. After draining, the potatoes get one more rinse under running water to wash off any last traces of surface starch. All this rinsing helps prevent them from becoming gluey later when you mash and mix them.Greece's national condiment

Since we’ll be adding a lot of moisture back later in the form of oil and an acid, I like to transfer the cooked and rinsed potatoes to a hot oven for a few minutes to help drive out some of their surface moisture.

Next was preparing the garlic and nut mixture which goes into the potatoes. To do this , I just combine the vinegar (or lemon juice), some cold water, and the garlic and almonds in a food processor, and pulse them until a paste forms.

I just mash the cooked potatoes with a ricer (a food mill can do the job too), then toss in the almond-garlic paste and olive oil to complete the skordalia. Once all the oil is added, the skordalia might start to break, but don’t worry—just beat in a few more tablespoons of cold water to stir the emulsion back together.

You can serve right away, but it’s even more gratifying when chilled, when those garlicky, tangy tastes crop up.



  • 2 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • Salt
  • 85g whole blanched almonds (1/2 cup)
  • 4 to 6 medium-sized cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (90ml) white wine vinegar and/or fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup (180ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Minced flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
  • Warmed pita and/or bread, for serving



  1. Oven should be preheated to 350°F (180°C). Put diced potatoes in a colander and run cold water over them until the water is clear. Place in a big saucepan and pour at least 2 inches of cold water over it. Add salt into the water. Heat water to a rolling boil over high heat, then lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until a knife slides through potatoes with little resistance. Potatoes should be drained in a strainer before a 30-second hot water rinse.
  2. Almonds, garlic, 2 tablespoons (30ml) cold water, and wine vinegar or lemon juice are mixed together in a food processor in the meantime. Process garlic and almonds until they are reduced to a paste. Add salt to taste.
  3. Potatoes should be spread out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and baked for six minutes, or until any excess moisture has disappeared.
  4. Mash potatoes in a sizable mixing dish using a potato ricer or the finest-toothed disc of a food mill. Potatoes can also be thoroughly mashed in a big mixing dish with a potato masher.
  5. Add the almond-garlic mixture and olive oil, and stir until well combined. Stir in more cold water, a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition to emulsify the mixture if the skordalia appears to be breaking slightly (i.e., if the oil does not entirely combine to make a homogeneous mixture). Serve immediately with warm pita bread or bread after seasoning with salt and adding parsley as a garnish, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

By Elijah Hughes

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