Almond Skordalia with Gigandes
Lin and I first had this dish at Periyali in New York. It was a particularly good version, as subsequent research has revealed that skordalia more commonly tastes like cold mashed potatoes. It goes well with fried vegetables or fish, but Periyali serves it with large white beans called "gigantes". I've found an acceptable substitute, sold locally as "Peruvian limas". Watch them closely in the pot, as they can turn to mush pretty quickly.
This recipe is close to Periyali's, although I insist on using more garlic and olive oil. I prefer to grind the garlic and almonds in a mortar, but it can be done quickly in a food processor. Just be careful not to over-process after adding the potato.
Place the skordalia in a small bowl in the center of a serving platter,
surround with beans, and garnish with parsley sprigs. Serve at room
Soak the beans in water for at least four hours. Drain and cover again with water in a pot. Add 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender but not soft. Drain, refresh in cold water, and sift through, discarding any blemished or discolored beans. Toss with olive oil, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate to combine the flavors.
Grind the garlic, almonds, and salt to a paste with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a mixing bowl or food processor. Soak the bread in water, squeeze dry, and mix into the paste. Peel, boil, and mash the potato, and add to the paste. Mix the lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar and add to the bowl. Continue mixing while adding the olive oil in a thin stream.