Back when I was travelling New Zealand as an investigator, in Auckland I always stayed at the Quest in Upper Queen Street which had very nice studio apartments at reasonable rates for Government employees. It also had a restaurant that served excellent food.
One of my favourites was a lamb steak or grilled fish fillet served with some kind of creamy mashed potato that I found irresistible.
I have always loved mashed potato, served the Irish way with butter and milk or a little cream beaten into it. This stuff was something else. It was made, I discovered, with pureed artichoke and olive oil. Heavenly. The Chef told me it was his own invention based on a traditional Greek recipe. He told me the name, but I promptly forgot it. From the internet, I worked out it must have been skorthalia.
I had the good fortune a few weeks back to buy a four litre can of Australian cold pressed virgin olive oil for less than $20. I opened it yesterday, having used up the last of my Lupi brand, and topped up the bottle. It is a delicious fruity oil that begged to be used in some way that the flavour could be savoured and enjoyed.
I have these potatoes that make a terrific mash and decided I might have a go at skorthalia. Without artichokes, I turned to the traditional other ingredient, which is garlic. I happen to have some really good Mexican garlic from Woolworths, and so I decided to make a puree of potato and garlic with olive oil and wine vinegar.
It is soooo good!
SKORTHALIA – pureed potato with garlic and olive oil.
Ingredients (This will make two generous serves)
- half a dozen medium potatoes, quartered, boiled in salted water and well drained. Allow excess moisture to evaporate (This is important for all mashed potato).
- a bulb of garlic, finely chopped by mezzaluna with a half teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil (or crushed or blended).
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (or more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (ditto)
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh parsley chopped on the oily, garlicky mezzaluna board