Spinach Skordalia (Greek Garlic Spread) (Σκορδαλιά με Σπανάκι)
Serves 4 (with fried fish or a group as an appetizer)
Air-dried heels of homemade or artisan-style bread are just right for skordalia. When we have leftover heels or chunks of bread, I leave them out on the counter to air-dry. After the bread is completely dried out, I store it in an airtight container to use when it’s time to make skordalia (or breadcrumbs).
3 cups chopped and tightly packed fresh spinach leaves
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 – 5 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 cup soggy bread (see Note below)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup best quality olive oil
Sauté the spinach in olive oil just until it wilts, about 30 seconds. Purée 3 cloves garlic by mashing them into the salt (a mortar and pestle works great for this task). Put the spinach, garlic purée, soggy bread, freshly ground black pepper, and lemon juice in a food processor (or blender). Purée the ingredients, making sure to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl, until the mixture is smooth. While the machine is running, slowly pour in the olive oil. You should end up with a mixture that has the consistency of thick mayonnaise. If it is too thick, mix in more olive oil until it reaches the proper consistency. Taste and add the remaining garlic (puréed in salt), lemon juice, or salt, as needed.
Serve with fried fish or as an appetizer with fresh raw vegetables.
Note: To make soggy bread, immerse dry, stale bread in cold water. When the bread has soaked up the water and is soft all the way through, drain the bread and, using your hands, squeeze out all the water until you have a solid ball of bread. The bread is then ready to measure and use in the recipe.