Bakaliaros (Cod) is another Greek traditional dish which has become synonymous to the 25th of March, which is the Annunciation of Virgin Mary and on that day we also celebrate the Revolution against the Turks in 1821.

The Annunciation in Greek is called Evangelismos and those named Evangelos or Evangelia celebrate their name day. My daughter has been christened Evangelia and we call her Elia for short and it is her name day as well. In Greece we celebrate our name days almost the same way we celebrate our birthday.

However how did we come to prepare this dish?

The 25th of March is always in the period of the Great Lent when the Orthodox fast for nearly fifty days.  No meat, no fish, no dairy products and sometimes no olive oil are allowed to be consumed.The church made two exceptions: one is on the 25th of March and the other on Palm Sunday when only fish can be consumed.For people living near the shores they ate fresh fish on both these occasions but people in remote mountain villages could not, as there were no refrigeration trucks to transport fish. So when salted Vakalaos (Cod) was imported, lots of years ago, it was ideal, not only for lent but for other days as well, as it was cheap and could be preserved for a long time.

The basic secret for the batter is ice cold water which helps so that the fried pieces of fish do not absorb so much oil which would lead to “sticky” results. Corn flour produces a crispy and light crust to the cod and you will see that you won’t be able to resist devouring more and more bites. The frying oil can be any kind of vegetable oil but I personally prefer olive oil, since it has a very high smoke point, so that it doesn’t burn even at high cooking temperatures, and it retains all of its healthy properties and brings out the true flavors of the food. Olive oil does not penetrate food during the cooking process as readily as some other types of oils, which results in a lower fat content in the finished dish.

How to unsalt cod:

Cut the cod into portions, remove skin, rinse to remove salt and place in a bowl and cover with water.

If cod is not a fillet make sure to remove all the bones.

Drain and change the water every 3 – 4 hours for at least 24 hours before preparing.

 

The recipe is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste as well as in Volume 1 of my e-cookbook.

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Χωρίς σχόλια on Bakaliaros with Skordalia (Cod and garlic dip)

  1. Ο/Η Tellmehowyoueat λέει:

    I love to learn about your tradition Ivy! It’s very interesting and deliciously appetizing! Olive oil, fish, kiwi sauce, strawberry sauce…there’s always sun in your cooking style!

  2. Ο/Η Bellini Valli λέει:

    The fisherman in Newfoundland and the Maritime provinces of Canada ate salt cod. They made a dish I really enjoy called fish & brewis which is made of hard tack (a very hard bread they could take to sea), onions, spices and salt cod…delish:D I had fish with skordalia in Athens which was exceptional somewhere near the Plaka….next time sis I will come to your house ;)

  3. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Thank you very much Herve.

  4. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Val, you know that you are always welcome.

  5. Ο/Η a kelly λέει:

    This sounds wonderful and I will definitely make this!
    I wonder what you eat during Lent with such restrictions? I had a cookbook years ago with recipes from Northern Greece that had a whole chapter on Lenten recipes…sadly it has gone missing(I may have given it to someone??). Would be interested to know your family favorites.
    Many thanks for your wonderful recipes!

  6. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Hi Kelly, Thanks for visiting. I have seen you around some friends blogs and I will definitely visit yours.
    Unfortunately only a few and mostly elderly people fast during the entire period of lent, including myself. We usually fast for a couple of weeks. However, you can eat anything a vegetarian eats.
    About my family favourites, this is one of the problems we do not fast the entire period because two of my three children do not like vegetables or dried legumes so it’s very difficult to cook during those days.

  7. Ο/Η Núria λέει:

    Hola Ivy! I love cod in all ways! We have this same tradition here… cod was the meal for these days! But I don’t follow the tradition now as my parents did when we were kids.
    Anyway I enjoy cod and liked your recipe! Thanks!

    Couldn’t see the pics, though.

  8. Ο/Η Pixie λέει:

    Fish and chips- Love it! I’ve yet to make this at home but I know my in laws would love this. (and us too of course!)

  9. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Hi Nuria, glad to have you back again. I checked the pictures and I can see all of them. I really don’t know why this problem occurs.
    If others can’t see them as well please tell me.

    Pixie, I hope you can see the pictures. I love fish and chips (this is a bit different though) and do you believe there is no fish and chips shop in Greece.

  10. Ο/Η Peter G λέει:

    Bravo ivy! I’m so excited you made this as I just had this at my aunty’s house today! I love the way you explain the history behind the «yiortes» and the fasting.

    PS I can’t see your pics either :(

  11. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    Chronia Polla, everybody.

    Thanks Peter for telling me about the photos. I have put them in again and I hope they can be seen now.

  12. Ο/Η Peter M λέει:

    Hvi, now I can finally see the photos. Your bakaliaro looks fine and
    ZHTO 25 Maptioy!

  13. Ο/Η George λέει:

    I didn’t have this food for a very long time. It was delicious and I enjoyed it… Even skordalia was delicious with the garlic flavour to be balanced, unlike the skordalia we buy sometimes in restaurants…. Well done!

  14. Ο/Η Passionate baker...& beyond λέει:

    Love the history & story behind every dish that you post Ivy…makes such good reading. This batter fried fish sounds ever so good…love the fact that it doesn’t absorb extra oil!! Yummy bella!!

  15. Ο/Η Ivy λέει:

    I am glad that you take the time to read them because I think most of us are busy and there are many sites to visit.

  16. Ο/Η Peter λέει:

    This is excellent!

    I have linked to this recipe in my product description to my website
    Here is the link : http://www.christosmarket.com/.....balk01.htm

  17. Ο/Η Skordalia λέει:

    [...] and pestle but nowadays we make it in a food processor or blender. Traditionally we serve it with Bakaliaros (salted codfish) a battered-fried fish, especially during the great lent period when abstaining from [...]

  18. Ο/Η Niki λέει:

    I'm drooling. This is one of my all time fav dishes! Your batter looks perfect and I am starving now! Haha, then again, I think your site always makes me hungry! :)

  19. [...] day, which is a public holiday.  It is also my daughter’s name day, so I will be busy cooking for family to celebrate this special [...]

  20. [...] Follow directions to unsalt the cod, as shown in a previous recipe. [...]

  21. Ο/Η Rubel Hossen λέει:

    I’m so excited you made this as I just had this at my aunty’s house today! I love the way you explain the history behind the «yiortes» and the fasting.

  22. Ο/Η ivyliac
    Twitter:
    λέει:

    Thank you Petros for letting us know. It was a mistake on my part to write "in Greece" as actually I meant in Athens, where I live.

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