Why It Works
- Rinsing the diced potatoes before and after cooking removes surface starch, reducing the gumminess of the potato purée.
- Blending the garlic with vinegar and/or lemon juice reduces its pungency while preserving its flavor.
Don't wait for the cold weather to set in to enjoy mashed potatoes: Take a page from the Greeks with skordalia, a garlicky, tangy mashed potato dip. Flavored with olive oil, vinegar, almonds, and plenty of raw garlic, then served chilled or at room temperature, it'll give you a whole new perspective on what mashed potatoes can be.
- 2 medium russet potatoes (about 1 pound; 450g), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- 3 ounces whole blanched almonds (1/2 cup; 85g)
- 4 to 6 medium cloves garlic (see note)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90ml) white wine vinegar and/or fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons; see note)
- 3/4 cup (180ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- Minced flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
- Warmed pita and/or bread, for serving
Preheat oven to 350°F. Set cubed potatoes in a colander and rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Transfer to a large saucepan and cover with cold water by at least 2 inches. Season water with salt until it is salty like tears. Bring water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until a knife easily pierces potatoes with no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain potatoes in colander, then rinse with hot running water for 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine almonds, garlic, 2 tablespoons (30ml) cold water, and wine vinegar and/or lemon juice. Process until garlic and almonds are reduced to a paste. Season with salt.
Spread potatoes in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to oven until excess moisture has evaporated and surface of potatoes is dry, about 6 minutes.
Using a potato ricer or a food mill with the finest disk, mash potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Alternatively, thoroughly mash potatoes with a potato masher in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in olive oil and almond-garlic mixture until thoroughly incorporated. If skordalia looks like it's breaking slightly (i.e., if the oil does not fully incorporate to form a homogeneous mixture), stir in more cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well, until mixture is emulsified. Season with salt, then garnish with parsley and serve immediately with warm pita or bread, or chill until ready to serve.
Rimmed baking sheet; food processor; potato ricer, food mill, or potato masher
Skordalia is meant to be strongly garlicky, which is what about 6 cloves will give you, but if you want it a little less intense, you can choose to use 5 or 4 cloves instead. I like the combination of fresh lemon juice with white wine vinegar, but if you have to choose only one, I'd recommend the sharper acidic flavor of the wine vinegar in this dish.