Greek fish and chips
So cod, we love it. Wrong, we don’t just love it, we absolutely adore it but for some reason we only have it once a year in all its glory: fried cod, with beetroot salad and skordalia, a garlic sauce to send all vampires away. It is cooked and enjoyed on our national holiday 25th of March, Greek independence date.
Head straight to the recipe.
In case you do wonder what Greece is commemorating it’s the beginning of the revolution against the Ottoman Empire – ripe fruit of the Greek enlightenment, certainly no small achievement with lots of great battles – that lasted approximately 8 years. If history and a good battle is your thing, I definitely recommend a visit at the wiki to find out more.
Personally, I was a little bit more intrigued by how salted cod ended up being a Greek national dish. Well, well, it’s an English import! We got into the habit way back, when Greece was a very young state and the English were trading their salt cod for our raisins. It is also linked to a religious holiday, as on the 25th of March Greek Orthodox observants celebrate the Annunciation and the occasion allows for a break of the strict lent regime. What’s more though, salted cod was a very cheap alternative to fresh fish. The ease of transport and low cost made it very handy for city and mountain dwellers alike to access, preserve and of course enjoy. So, a bit of good old trade, a bit of religion and here we are with Greek fish and chips!
So, we have the cod, fried in a light batter but we actually cheat on the side, instead of chips we make a pungent side of skordalia, garlic mashed potatoes and a refreshing beetroot salad. Here is what you will need:
Ingredients (3-4 servings)
- 1 piece of salt cod, approx. 750 gr
- 250 ml beer or soda water
- 120 gr of flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg white
- olive oil for frying, this is not deep-frying, you will need just enough so that the cod pieces are covered half-ways with oil whilst frying
- 500 gr potatoes
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 80 ml of olive oil
- 1 tsp of cider vinegar
- 50gr of walnuts (optional)
- salt, to taste
What to do:
- First you have to de-salt and rehydrate the salt cod. The process takes at least 24 hrs: immerse the cod in a large tub of water and change the water at least 3-4 times. You can cut to smaller pieces, either bite sized or a bit larger before desalting.
- For the batter, whisk together 250 ml beer or soda water, 120 gr of flour, one egg white and add some salt and pepper. Keep it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for crunchier results.
- Heat up the olive oil, you need enough to half cover the cod pieces.
- Once hot immerse the battered cod pieces and fry for 2-3 minutes each side.
- Boil the potatoes, until soft and mushy.
- Start adding the mashed garlic cloves and integrating with a masher to the potatoes. I would advice to take this step slowly and taste your mash as garlic can be really strong. If you are using walnuts, crush them and add them in now.
- Once the garlic is mixed in start drizzling over the olive oil, bit by bit.
- Add the vinegar towards the end.
- Do keep on tasting it all the way.
Garlic mash and fried cod are a match made in heaven. I do have to warn you though, you might need to cancel that date later.
from Athens with love,