This dish, made in her tiny kitchen in Corfu, is so good it inspired me to write a book about cooking with other grannies around the world
Every year, as spring approaches, I call my Yiayia (granny) in Corfu to let her know of my imminent arrival. I have spent most summers on the island since I was a child, so the “welcome” meal I always request from her should come as no surprise, but still, she asks. The answer is always the same: “Tsipoures kai skordalia!” (marinated sea bream with punchy garlic and potato dip).
My closest friends have been visiting me and Yiayia (who is also called Anastasia) in her tiny whitewashed home in Perivoli village (in the rural south of Corfu) since I was 13. They have all tasted her lemon- and oregano-spiked sea bream, charred on the outside, flaky and tender on the inside, served with chunky hand-cut oregano-sprinkled chips. The same goes for her skordalia, a creamy potato salsa that’s always dolloped on top of the fish. I’m convinced she started giving this to us when we were in our teens to keep the local village boys away. An entire bulb of garlic goes into it.