Thursday, January 15, 2009

Recipes for Spinach Skordalia & Crispy Salmon Fingers (Σκορδαλιά με Σπανάκι & Σολομός Τηγανητός)

Skordalia, a classic Greek garlic spread, is often served with fried fish. Here I’ve enhanced traditional skordalia with earthy spinach to create a luscious, garlicky, colorful partner for crispy, pan-fried salmon fingers.

Spinach Skordalia and Crispy Salmon Fingers are quick and easy recipes that are also healthy and full-flavored. For dinner tonight I paired them with
Sweet Potato Oven Fries and Tomato Salad.

Spinach SkordaliaSpinach 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.

Spinach Skordalia with Salmon FingersCrispy Salmon Fingers (Σολομός Τηγανητός)
Serves 4

Salmon tastes better if you salt and pepper it at least 1/2 hour before flouring and cooking. Season the salmon and then make Spinach Skordalia; the salmon will be ready to cook as soon as the skordalia is done. Semolina flour makes a crispier coating than white flour, although white flour may also be used in this recipe.

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless salmon fillets
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/4 cup olive oil

Wash the salmon and dry it well. Using needle-nosed pliers, remove as many pin-bones from the salmon as possible. Cut the salmon into long, narrow, lengthwise strips. Cut each strip into fingers approximately 3” long. Season the fingers with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Put the semolina flour in a bag; shake the salmon fingers in the bag until they are thoroughly coated with flour. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in each of 2 frying pans until the oil is hot, but not smoking. Divide the salmon fingers between the 2 pans and cook for 2 minutes, or until the pan side of the salmon is lightly browned. Turn over and cook for 1 – 2 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through. The exact cooking time depends on the salmon’s thickness; keep in mind that salmon tastes better slightly underdone than overdone.

Serve immediately with Spinach Skordalia.
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This is my entry for
Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this week by Rachel from The Crispy Cook.

Ice Art in Anchorage AlaskaMasque at sunset, part of the FREEZE frozen-ice art installations in Anchorage, Alaska.

26 comments:

Mediterranean kiwi said...

nice touch to a classic skordalia. the colour and flavour of the spinach give it a whole new image

Joan Nova said...

My kind of dinner...tasty and colorful!

History of Greek Food said...

Simple and brilliant!!!

Rachel said...

Crispy salmon fingers with spinach skordalia sounds fantastic. What a delightful dinner. Here in upstate New York we are "enjoying" some of your Alaskan weather with below zero temps this week, brrr! Sounds like I should whip up a warming dinner like the one you just made. Thanks for sending it in to Weekend Herb Blogging!

-Rachel

Maryann said...

That looks so good :)

Núria said...

Mmmmm this sounds perfect for a first date ;D. He, he... that garlic sauce must have been sooooooo good! And salmon is just perfect anyway... crispy is delicious.

Great to see you back Laurie!

Cheryl said...

Delicious! Two of my favorite things...spinach & garlic!

Peter M said...

I've seen and tried a few fish recipes that ask for the fish to be seasoned 30 minutes before. The fish seems to firm, hold up well in cooking and with delicious results.

Combing spinach with Skordalia is like a Reeses moment...great marriage of ingredients.

Laurie Constantino said...

Maria, because the spinach is cooked so quickly, it keeps it's lovely color.

Joan, exactly!

Thanks, Mariana.

Rachel, I love Weekend Herb Blogging. I read it religiously even before I started my blog. Thanks for hosting!

Maryann, thank you.

Nuria, hahahahahaha! As long as both people ate it, anyway!

Cheryl, and easy too! What more can you ask out of a recipe??

Karen said...

I could eat about 110 of those crispy salmon fingers! LOL Looks delish!

Simona said...

I will try to make your skordalia. I love its bright color!

Joie de vivre said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joie de vivre said...

Oh my, you do eat well. That looks amazing!

Lucy said...

Happy new year to you, Laurie.

Have been making my own bread and air-drying those heels and wondering when the right recipe would come along. Gorgeous, vibrancy.

The head is absolutely amazing - what a fabulous exhibition. It does look cold in your part of the world this year...oddly, it's cool here, too.

Maria said...

What great recipes Laurie! I've never done anything to salmon other than pan sear or cook it in parchment. This is a great variation and the skordalia sounds amazing.

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

The spinach skordalia sounds yummy. I like the use of semolina in the salmon; got to try it sometime. Looks great!

Tangled Noodle said...

Great recipe and wonderful blog! I followed the link to your site from History of Greek Food and I'm happy I did so. I look forward to reading more!

syrie said...

What gorgeous AND nutritious food Laurie. Happy New Year!

Bijoux said...

I love everything about this spread! The salmon fingers look delicious! The spinach skordalia sounds incredible!! And I can never get enough of sweet potato fries!
I showed this posting to my mother and she was very intrigued. Your spinach skordalia really made an impression on her. She almost regretted not coming up with the idea herself! LOL Tomorrow is grocery day for me and I intend to hunt down some good salmon along with spinach and sweet potatoes for sure :)

alison@alisonslunch.com said...

Ooh, this spinach skordalia is one I'll have to try next time I have spinach! I've made skordalia before, and was not impressed by my efforts. Could it be that I had a recipe for it with potatoes, instead of bread? maybe I'm remembering wrong. Anyway, I've never eaten it made by someone who knows what it should taste like. This spinach one, though, looks wonderful!

noble pig said...

What beautiful recipes! The colors really stand out. Love the salmon fingers.

Laurie Constantino said...

Karen, only 110??

Yes, Simona, I really like the deep green color of the skordalia.

Thanks, Joie de vivre!

Lucy, Happy New Year! Now we're having a bizarre warm spell, with lots of wind and rain, brought by a storm born in the Pacific Ocean's tropical waters. Sadly, the heads have melted, as are the other ice installations. I'm glad I went when I did.

Maria, as you know well, fish and skordalia go together really really well.

Nihal, thank you!

Tangled Noodle, thanks for visiting the blog! I love Mariana's blog and it was so nice of her to mention me.

Happy New Year, Syrie!

Bijoux, your mother liking it is the ultimate praise!! This was a brainstorm I came up with one night when I couldn't sleep.

Alison, skordalia can be made either with potatoes or bread, so you're probably remembering right. I prefer making it with bread, though potato skordalia is good as long as you add enough olive oil to loosen up the texture. To make traditional skordalia, just eliminate the spinach and change the lemon juice to white wine vinegar.

Noble Pig, I'm a sucker for colorful food - sounds like you are too!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Love the color combination of the spinach and salmon -- and salmon "fingers" would probably appeal to some kids (like my grandkids) who claim to hate fish, but love anything shaped like a finger!

Joanne said...

Hi Laurie,

Thanks so much for the comment! I've never thought of breading salmon and frying it but it looks like it would be delicious. And the skordalia makes such a fresh-tasting accompaniment. Together, they are kind of like fish sticks for a new age.

manju said...

I've never made my own skordalia, but your spinach version looks too good to resist. Next Costco run, we'll set aside some spinach for this. We're going to try your advice about seasoning the salmon in advance of cooking -- I've always been taught to salt just before cooking or the flesh will dry out, but I guess here that is the desired effect so the fingers will be crispy. Can't wait to try that too!

Maya said...

I love the salmon spinach combination. Just cooked a combination with fish fillet stripes on spinach also worth trying.