Greeks celebrate Greek Independence Day on the 25th of March each year. This is one of only two days during Lent, the other being Palm Sunday which falls today. These are the days when fish is permitted.
According to the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Panagia to announce to her that she would conceive Jesus Christ.
The country marks the double holiday with two things: Parades and Bakaliaros (Codfish) and Skordalia (potato and garlic mash).
A custom across the country on March 25 is to eat Bakaliaro with skordalia, as it is a joyous occasion, allowing the fast to be broken.
Below is a recipe for Bakalriaros and Skordalia from Kalofagas-Greek Food & Beyond website of Peter Minaki. Peter is one of Canada’s finest Toronto based Greek food experts and is often referred to as “Kalofagas”, which is Greek for “gourmand”.
- approx. 1lb. of salt cod fillets (soaked & water changed 3-4 times until salt is removed)
- 1 bottle of beer
- 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup of corn starch
- salt and pepper to taste
- flour for dredging
- sunflower oil for frying
- 3 Russet (starchy) potatoes
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- approx. 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- good wine vinegar to taste
- sea salt to taste
- Place your 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 pass through a potato ricer. Add your 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 (or place in the fridge if making much ahead of time).
- After you’ve sufficiently soaked your salt cod, pat dry and cut into small portions. Season with salt and pepper and dredge in flour and set aside.
- Add all your dry ingredients into a bowl and mix with a fork. Now while whisking, gradually add the beer to the flour until you get a thick batter (slightly thinner than pancake batter). Drink any remaining beer.
- Heat your oil (about 2 inches deep) to about 360F and then dip your cod fillets in the batter then place carefully into the hot oil. Fry in batches until golden brown. Place the fried fillets on a platter covered in paper towels. Sprinkle some sea salt on them, serve with lemon wedges, Skordalia, and some Vlita.