Fried garfish with cauliflower 'skordalia' (Τηγανητα Ζαργανα με κουνουπιδι σκορδαλια)

Skordalia often makes a regular feature on our weekly family menu. The thick, creamy, garlicky puree is definitely not for the faint hearted! It's the perfect partner for really any kind of seafood - so good a pairing in fact, that on my mother in law's home island fish stock or the cooking liquid from the fish is usually used to make the skordalia.  The other traditional ingredients for skordalia are usually potato or bread and almond meal. 

My usual skordalia recipe required a tweak recently, when we had friends call in for a casual lunch. Gluten, dairy and potatoes were strictly off their menu - hence my milder cauliflower skordalia came to be. The almond milk in this recipe is a little nod to the traditional almond meal that is often used to make skordalia. The creamy puree contrasted nicely with the crunchy, lemony coating of the garfish. In this recipe I have used the excellent Sparoza herb and spice blend with lemon zest, which is available online from Homer St.  A big side plate of fresh, lightly steamed asparagus makes this a real spring feast. 

Fried garfish with cauliflower 'skordalia' (Τηγανητά Ζαργάνα με κουνουπίδι σκορδαλιά)

For the garfish:

1kg garfish (ask your fishmonger to clean them, you can leave the heads on or remove them on)
2 cups of brown rice flour
2 tsp of 'Sparoza' herb and spice blend with lemon zest
olive oil (for frying)
Juice of 2–3 lemons (depending on how juicy they are)
salt and cracked pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large frypan.

Fill a freezer bag with the rice flour, salt, pepper and Sparoza spice blend.  Place a few garfish at a time into the bag with the rice flour. Dust off any excess, then fry them in the hot oil until the skin is nice and golden, turning over once only. Serve with the essential side of fresh lemons to squeeze over the fish.

For the skordalia: 

¼ cup olive oil
½ small cauliflower
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150 ml almond milk

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add sliced cauliflower, onion and garlic. Stir occasionally until tender, about 10 minutes. Add almond milk, cover and reduce heat to low and cook until cauliflower is very tender, about 20 minutes. Purée until smooth.

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Maira Gall