Potato-Garlic Purée

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    1 quart

Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

Stiff purées redolent of raw garlic can be found all along the Mediterranean, where they accompany grilled and sautéed vegetables such as eggplant and zucchini, cold vegetables such as beets and artichokes, meat, and fish, especially poached salt cod. A variety of ingredients are used to give the sauces body. An aïoli may contain only egg yolks and oil as thickeners, whereas the Greek version, skorthaliá, may contain ground almonds. This recipe uses potatoes for body.

The consistency of skorthaliá can be adjusted by adding stock or cooking liquid. The flavor and color can be enhanced by adding Sweet Pepper Purée, made with red peppers, to taste. Basil Oil can also be added for flavor and color.


small firm-fleshed unpeeled potatoes 2 lb 1 kg
garlic cloves, peeled 8 8
fine salt 1 tbsp 15 ml
extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup 250 ml
wine vinegar or lemon juice ½ cup 125 ml
white pepper to taste to taste


  1. Cover the potatoes with cold water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until easily penetrated with a knife but before the skins begin to split.
  2. Work the garlic to a paste with a mortar and pestle or by crushing the cloves with the side of a knife on a cutting board.
  3. When the potatoes are done, peel them while they are still warm and add them a few at a time to the garlic paste in the mortar or in a bowl. Crush them with the pestle or the back of a wooden spoon, adding the salt while crushing them.
  4. When the potato-garlic mixture is smooth, gradually work in the olive oil and vinegar. Season with pepper.