Taramosalata

Taramosalata

Fish roe purée

By
From
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Makes
500 g
Photographer
Alan Benson

Tarama is the salted and cured roe of the grey mullet or cod, the basis of this popular and delicious Greek meze. As there are various types available, you might have to experiment to find one to your liking, and adjust the recipe accordingly.

The best tarama to my mind is the one imported from Greece. Usually available in bulk or in jars, it is a very firm, dusty-pink paste. Sometimes a retailer ‘improves’ it by softening the tarama (with what I do not know) and brightening it with food colouring. Avoid this variety.

Small tins of locally produced tarama are more widely available and handy to have in the refrigerator. This is a firm, orange-coloured paste and just a little bitter to my taste, though this lessens considerably if the taramosalata is refrigerated a day or two before serving.

Avgotaraho — salted, dried, amber-coloured roe — is often available at fishmongers and delicatessens. This makes an excellent taramosalata, but choose one that is not too hard. You can also prepare your own avgotaraho.

The strong-flavoured tarama must be broken down with crustless stale white bread, preferably from a Greek or continental-style loaf. Equal proportions by weight of these two ingredients is a good rule of thumb. Some cooks add mashed potato instead of the bread, or a combination of the two, to the detriment of the final taramosalata.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4-5 thick slices crustless stale white bread, about 150g
125g tarama
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1/2 small onion, finely grated or ground
60ml lemon juice, strained
1 egg yolk, plus 1 egg white if needed
165ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

For serving

Quantity Ingredient
black olives, to garnish
crusty bread and crackers
raw vegetables such as radishes, celery and cucumber sticks

Method

  1. Soak the bread in cold water and then squeeze dry. Add to a food processor with the tarama, garlic, onion and half the lemon juice. Process until smoothly combined.
  2. Add the egg yolk and beat well, then slowly add 125 ml of the oil. Taste and add more lemon juice if the mixture is too salty. Gradually add the remaining oil until the tarama is light and creamy. If it is very stiff, add the egg white and beat in well. (Some taramas will take the egg white, while others have a satisfactory consistency without it.)
  3. When completed, the taramosalata should hold its shape; chilling will thicken it further. Store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator until required.
  4. To serve, pile the taramosalata in a deep bowl and garnish with olives. Serve with crusty bread, assorted crackers and a dish of crisp celery pieces, radish and cucumber sticks. The vegetable accompaniment is not traditional, but a joy to eat with the taramosalata spread onto the pieces.
Tags:
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Tess
Mallos
Middle Eastern
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