We returned from our lunch at around 3.30 on Thursday afternoon, completely full up, warm (until we got home) and very happy. I took a few shots on the way up through the village, and down again, and then settled in for an evening with the godson, who was staying overnight as his mum was on the early boat to Rhodes on Friday. The boat, despite the winds, was on time, not that I saw it. I heard it through the wind and the closed shutters; the wind died away later in the morning leaving the day bright and clear, and cold. I know some places already have snow and minus degrees at night and we are hovering around 10 degrees out of the wind, but still, it feels cold here after a summer that reached 40 + degrees in the shade.
As for lunch: we were invited to Yianni and Katerina’s house where everything was already festive, the tree up and the discrete and charming decorations placed around the sitting room and kitchen. We were offered something of a feast. Katarina was next door finishing off the Bakaliaros when we arrived; she had cooked at a neighbour’s house so that our enjoyment wouldn’t be overshadowed by the smell of fried fish. The skordalia was already set out and there was a rather generous pot of moussaka each already and waiting, plus fresh beetroot and a salad, and bread. Needless to say, it was delicious and well received and no none went hungry.
The conversation flowed surprisingly well, with Yianni occasionally translating our Greek into real Greek for his wife, but generally we were able to keep the chat going beyond, ‘This is lovely; and ‘No more, thank you!’ and we talked about books, the weather, the house, friends in common and the wedding on Sunday.
If you are interested to make Bakaliaros yourself, it’s about as close to good old British ‘fish and chips’ as you’re likely to find around here and pretty simple. (Just replace curry sauce with garlic sauce, recipe included below.) Here’s a version I pulled off a website: http://www.kalofagas.ca/2009/03/25/bakaliaros-skordalia/
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 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 in to 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.