Taramasalata is a salty seafood dip that's served during Greek lent. But also as an appetizer in traditional Greek restaurants.
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Tarama is the cured eggs of carp fish, grey mullet, or cod. In Greece, we have two types of Tarama. The one we call the White one, which is, in fact, a yellowish one, and the Pink one. Authentic Tarama is originally white (yellowish), but the pink color is added to it only to make it look more eye-catching. The flavor in both types is almost exactly the same (the white one being a touch stronger).
The Greek Tarama Dip is made using either potatoes or bread as a base, lemon juice, olive oil, onion, and sometimes walnuts or almonds. It's a favorite Greek Meze, that goes perfectly with Ouzo.
The Greek Traditions
This Dip is one of the highlight dishes during the Greek Lent and Clean Monday. Too much Greek stuff in one paragraph? Don't worry I'll explain each one in the text below...
Clean Monday, is the first day of the Greek Lent, which lasts for 40 days until Pascha (Easter). These days, the people who follow lent do not consume meat, dairy, and fish. Seafood like mussels, octopus, and squid, for example, are allowed since they do not contain blood in their bodies.
In older times, when people were a lot more religious, Greek Lent was followed by almost everyone. Today, most people just follow lent only during the day of Clean Monday, and during the last week before Easter. The last week before Easter is what we call the Long week. Because it's the week that the suffering and death of Christ took place. But that's all with the religious stuff and time to move to another Traditional Greek topic, MEZEEEE!
A Traditional Greek Meze
Like I said in the text above I'm going to explain every Greek thing I mentioned. So, Greek Tarama Dip (Taramosalata) is a favorite Greek Meze. Meze is what we call in Greece the different small plates, that are served along with alcohol (Traditionally Ouzo or Raki but sometimes even wine) prior to the main meal (in most cases lunch). Meze plates are usually dips, spreads, marinated fish, and seafood, or even cheese. A Meze plate usually contains vinegar, garlic, or lemon in order to be appetizing and make you really hungry for the main meal.
The recipe for Greek Tarama Dip that I'm sharing here is for making both Pink Tarama and White Tarama. The White One has a bit stronger fish flavor and is made with soaked stale bread as a base. While the Pink one has a more subtle fish flavor and is made with potatoes as a base. You can try both or play it safe and make just the pink one which is more widely consumed. Personally, I like both.
SERVE WITH 🠫
Taramasalata is traditionally served on the day of Clean Monday (the beginning of Greek Lent) together with Lagana bread (sesame flatbread), Fasolatha (white bean and tomato soup), or Gigantes (baked giant beans).
If you're skipping the traditional Lent dishes, Kalamata olives are a must for this dip. Their strong vinegary salty flavor pairs so well with this dip.
Greek Tarama Dip (Taramosalata)
For Making The Pink Tarama:
- 250 grams (8.8 oz) potatoes Yukon gold or Russets
- 70 grams (2.4 oz) red onion
- 140 grams (8 tablespoons) pink Tarama fish roe
- 100 grams (10 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
- 40 grams (4 tablespoons) lemon juice fresh
For Making The White Tarama:
- 400 grams / 14 oz stale bread, crust removed
- 160 grams / 5.6 oz white Tarama fish roe
- 150 grams / 5.3 oz white onion
- 170 ml olive oil
- 100 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
To Make The Pink Tarama:
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters. Add them to a cooking pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer the potatoes until completely soft and tender.
- Drain the potatoes and transfer them back to the hot pot. Mash them with a fork or potato masher. Set aside to cool down to room temperature.
- Cut the onion into smaller pieces and add to a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
- Then add the pink Tarama to the food processor along with the olive oil and pulse until thick paste forms.
- Add the lemon juice and blend until uniform.
- Add the mashed potatoes in batches to the food processor and pulse until fully incorporated.
- Serve the Tarama straight away or refrigerate for up to 4 days.
To Make The White Tarama:
- Place the stale bread in a bowl and pour enough water to cover the bread. Let the bread soak for about 1 hour. Then remove the bread from the bowl and squeeze it really well with your hands to remove all the water. Place it in a bowl and set it aside.
- Peel the onion and cut it into smaller pieces. Place inside a blender or food processor along with the lemon juice and white Tarama. Blend until smooth paste forms. Then incorporate the bread in bits at a time and keep blending until nice and smooth.
- Add the olive oil in slowly, while keep blending until it all gets incorporated into the dip. Then place the Tarama Dip in a bowl or food container and refrigerate for about 2 hours before serving.
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