The July challenge for Daring Cooks is hosted by Margie of More Please, and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. We were asked to make nut butters and then incorporate them in a recipe. As it so happened, I made do with ingredients I had on hand, and boy was I thrilled. No need for a trip to the grocery store. My recipe was simple to put together and very, very tasty. I chose to make walnut butter and then to combine it in walnut skordalia (walnut - garlic sauce). Skordalia is a popular Greek side dish made either with potatoes or walnuts. Its name comes from one of its key ingredients, skordo, which means garlic. It usually accompanies fried fish or fried/boiled vegetables. I have a recipe for skordalia with potatoes here). Walnut skordalia is a regional variation. It's made in Northeastern Greece, in Macedonia and Thrace. Serafia, my maternal grandmother, who was a true and proper Northeastern Greek, always made her skordalia with walnuts, never with potatoes. Of course, it helped that grandfather had planted walnut trees near one of his vineyards. There was always an ample supply of walnuts. Traditionally a mortar and pestle was used to pound the walnuts and garlic. Today, the food processor makes this job much easier.
Pan seared sea bass surrounded by walnut skordalia. Fish and skordalia are a traditional pairing. I have a recipe for pan seared fish fillets here.
The walnut butter was easy to make...
Make a walnut butter: Place two cups of shelled, roasted walnut pieces in a food processor, and pulse until the walnuts are finely ground, as shown in the picture above.
In addition to the walnut butter you will need:
1 cup of stale bread pieces without crust
3, 4, 5, or more garlic cloves. How much depends on social engagements and digestive tolerance. (I used three).
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
- Soak the bread in a bit of water. When it has softened, squeeze out the excess water. Discard the water and place the bread in a food processor.
- Add all the other ingredients, including the walnut butter. Process until well blended.
- Taste, and if the mixture feels thick, thin it out by adding a little water and then processing. In the end, the skordalia should have the consistency of thick mayonnaise.
- Remove to bowl, cover and chill. Serve as an accompaniment to fried fish or vegetables.
- ***Walnut skordalia also makes a delicious dip or appetizer. Serve it in a bowl surrounded by toasted bread rounds, or top some bread with skordalia and shrimp. The appetizers in the picture below were made with sliced French bread sprinkled with olive oil and toasted, then topped with skordalia and with shrimp which had been seasoned with lemon juice, black pepper and parsley.