Thursday, January 12, 2006


240. Taramasalata (Weekend Lunch)

One of the best things about this recipe, in my humble opinion, is its name. Try saying it in a Greek accent. When you go shopping for the ingredients, tell the dudes at the deli counter that you need smoked cod's or mullet's roe to make your own taramasalata from scratch. Even if they don't stock it, they'll be well impressed, especially if they are a cute Greek fishmonger, and you are a young eligible Asian girl.

So here's the can of tarama (aka smoked mullet's roe) that I bought at Prahran Market this morning. Nigella asks for the non-canned variety, but the Greek guy from fishmonger told me that his Greek mamma used to make taramasalata from a can, so the canned stuff is more than authentic enough for me.


And this is what it actually looks like!

To turn the tarama into taramasalata, you put it in a food processor with some stale bread soaked in water, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. At Nigella's suggestion, I put some yogurt in too. Well, it worked really well for the hummus. After processing, I tasted it, and it was way too salty, with a bitter aftertaste, (much like the last person I gave caviar to, hrmph). So, I kept adding more bread, yogurt, oil and water until I got the right texture and taste. I was surprised at its modest buff colour, totally different from the lurid pink taramasalata that you see in Greek delis and in supermarket tubs. I was almost tempted to add some pink colouring, but thought better of it.

We ate the taramasalata for dinner tonight, and as for serving it, I took a suggestion from the One & Two chapter. Nigella says that this is how she used to eat the taramasalata with her sister, Thomasina.

On the evening of her arrival, at the beginning of any weekend she stayed with me, we always shared taramasalata eaten with warm pitta, with, alongside on the table, a plate of hot crisp grilled bacon and a bunch of spring onions.

In addition to the wonderful pita (bought this morning and made fresh by the felafel cart dudes), crisp grilled bacon and taramasalata, we had leftover hummus, baby cos leaves, and the excess bits of freshly-picked crab. Fabulous stuff. We cut up the spring onions Peking duck stylee, at my dad's insistence.


The taramasalata is very nice, but despite its buff colour, it is very strongly flavoured. Unlike the hummus, which I happily eat by the bowlful, the taramasalata has to be used sparingly, lest you receive an unpleasantly strong and fishy, salty mouthful. In more normal quantities, however, it's great.


Anonymous said...

Taramasalata es mi ´dip´ favorito!!!

Desafortunadamente no se puede consiguir en Madrid :(

Entonces ya se lo que voy a comer contigo cuando vuelvo!

un beso f

ps. gracias por el index!

Lisa said...

Sarah, you are doing such a great job. Not only do I love seeing and reading about the recipes, but the way you present it all is really fabulous. The bit about Nigella & her sister here is really a nice touch.
btw, w/the spring onions, what's Peking duck stylee?

Sarah said...

Hi Lisa,

Have you had crispy Peking duck at a restaurant before? It a crispy roast duck (duh), sliced into very very thin slices, and you wrap it up in a pancake with plum sauce, cucumber slivers and spring onion slivers.

So when Dad said to cut the spring onions Peking duck stylee, he just meant in long slivers, instead of slicing them across into little circles.

xox Sarah

annauk said...

Sarah, you don't know how jealous I am of that can of taramosalata! I have trawled the streets looking for tarama, all I can get is fresh, which would cost me about £10-£15 !!!!
Would you consider exporting to the UK? LOL

Ilana said...

Awesome job sourcing all these fab ingredients...
No thanks to you I say 'source' much more than necessary. People think I've gone loopy. Seriously, I can't say find or locate anymore, I say 'source.'!!! Aggggh!

Anna, it's too bad you don't live here. I'm sure tarama would be a cinch to find... We must 'source' Greek markets when you come a-visitin'