Taramasalata is dead easy to make and tastes a million times better than the artificially pink gloop sold in supermarkets. Accompany this dip with fresh bread, warm pittas, toast or crudités for a simple summer appetiser or picnic item. Alternatively, include this as part of a mixed meze meal.
The essential ingredient is smoked cod’s roe. You may see lumps of the stuff on fishmonger’s counters, unloved, tucked away in one corner. In Brighton, many of the fishmongers source theirs from Springs Smokery – a fantastic food producer famous for their smoked salmon, nestled beneath the South Downs in the village of Edburton. I’ve read that alternative versions of taramasalata use the roe of grey mullet – known as Bottarga. For us in the UK, I think this would be a bit expensive to do!
I can’t claim that the following is an authenticate Greek recipe, its just the method that I have developed over time. I’ve seen many variants (with and without breadcrumbs for example) however the following recipe is quick, simple and fool-proof. I don’t bother with soaking the smoked roe beforehand (I presume doing so reduces the saltiness and strong smokey flavour), nor do I include any breadcrumbs. Hence this recipe makes a “full-on” rich and strongly-flavoured taramasalata. Enjoy with a cool glass of Manzanilla or Albarino.
Skill level: Easy
Equipment required: Food processor
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: n/a
150g smoked cod’s roe (Note: this freezes well, so you can buy more than you need, and keep some for the future)
100ml virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove
Step 1: Remove the skins from the cod’s roe, and chop into small cubes before placing into a food processor.
Step 2: Add a crushed garlic clove, pour in half of the lemon juice, and blend for 2 minutes. As the mixture blends, the colour of the roe will pale and the mixture will expand a little.
Step 3: While the is motor running, gently drizzle in the olive oil. Start very slowly with the oil, and as the emulsion begins to set. The method is very similar to making mayonnaise (egg protein, blended with an acid, before slowly adding oil). After adding approximately 50ml of oil, the consistency should be relatively thick.
Step 4: Stop the food processor and have a taste. At this point you may judge that it needs more lemon juice or olive oil, or neither. The mixture will be very thick at room temperature and therefore when cooled will be even more so.
Step 5: Continue to blend and add either more oil, lemon juice and/or milk until the consistency is a little more runny than you’d like.
Step 6: Dollop out into your serving dish, dress with a little more olive oil, and a couple of black olives for decoration. Place in the fridge to cool before serving.
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