BAKALIAROS – SKORDALIA / FRIED SALT COD WITH GARLIC SAUCE
WHY DO GREEKS EAT COD ON MARCH 25?
WHAT IS THE 25th OF MARCH NATIONAL HOLIDAY IN GREECE ABOUT?
What a beautiful day to celebrate a National Holiday! Sunny and not too warm! Greeks celebrate the 25th March a double holiday: a historical and a religious one. Greeks celebrate the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire.
Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Annunciation by archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she should become the mother of Jesus Christ the Son of God. 25th March is exactly nine months before Christmas!
The country marks the double holiday with two things: Parades and Bakaliaros (Cod fish)
A custom across the country on this day ( March 25th ) is to eat crispy, fried Cod fish with garlic sauce (Bakaliaros skordalia) ! This has to do with the Lent before Easter, 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!
Why fried? Because that’s almost the only tasty way to eat the salted cod – the thought was that not all the region have availability to fresh fish.
Why garlic sauce? Because only garlic sauce matches with the fried Cod fish and as we know fried foods raise the pressure and garlic lowers the pressure.
Here is the authentic Greek Bakaliaros – Skordalia recipe.
Happy Greek Independence Day.
*1kg-2lb salt cod
*2 cups self-rising flour
*2 cups of beer
*Oil for frying
*4-5 Russet (starchy) potatoes
*5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
*1/2 cup olive oil
*wine vinegar to taste
*sea salt to taste
For the skordalia.
Place 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.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel with the back of your knife and and pass through a ricer. Add the 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.
For the Bakaliaro.
Rinse the fish under cold water and remove any scales or bones. Soak in cold water for at least 12 hours changing out the water a few times.
Cut the fish into small pieces and set aside on a plate.
In a large bowl, add the flour and whisk in the beer. Whisk the mixture to make a thick smooth batter.
Fold in the chopped salt cod and mix well.
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Scoop tbsp- size mounds of mixture into the pan and fry, until golden.
Drain on kitchen paper. Transfer to a platter and serve with Skordalia.