Skordalia is a Greek sauce/dip/purée/spread that is made with either mashed potatoes or soaked bread and lots of garlic and olive oil. It’s smooth, unctuous and flavorful. The following recipe is, of course, made with potatoes. It takes mashed potatoes and elevates them to pesto status. Besides a dressing for beets, try it with other cooked vegetables, or as a side to meat dishes. For a super carb hit, slather it on toasted baguette slices! You will get a smoother skordalia if you peel the potatoes, which is the more authentic method of preparation for this dish.
4 beets, trimmed
1 lb or so potatoes, peeled or not, preferably Russets, but most varieties work here
6 – 7 cloves peeled garlic, or to your preference
1/4 – 1/2 c toasted, ground or finely chopped walnuts or almonds, optional but traditional
1 c extra-virgin olive oil
3 T fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
salt, to taste (some pepper if you like, but it’s not traditional)
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Wrap beets in foil, place on a baking sheet and put into oven. Roast until tender, when a knife easily pierces a beet. Remove from heat, allow to cool, then peel and slice. Set aside. Or roast beets according to your own preference.
2. Meanwhile, boil potatoes in (salted) water until tender. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water. Mash until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
3. In a blender, combine the garlic, nuts, olive oil and lemon juice. Whizz until smooth. Slowly pour into mashed potatoes, stirring until well incorporated and smooth. Season to taste with some salt (and pepper, if you wish). Alternatively, you can finely mince the garlic or make a paste of it. Stir into the mashed potatoes along with the nuts. Then slowly pour in the oil, and after, slowly pour in the lemon juice. Season to taste.
4. Set sliced beets on a serving platter and mound the skordalia alongside.