Tarama is the cured eggs of either 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). During these days, the people who follow the 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, where people were a lot more religious, Greek Lent was followed by many. Today, most people just follow the 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 Greek Tarama Dip Recipe
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.
Greek Tarama Dip (Taramosalata)
For Making The Pink Tarama:
- 3 medium-sized potatoes (about 450 grams) (such as Yukon gold or red bliss)
- ½ large red onion (about 200 grams)
- 3 tablespoons pink Tarama fish roe (90 grams)
- 100 ml olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced
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. Season with a bit of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer the potatoes until completely soft and tender.
- Using a slotted spoon transfer the potatoes to your electric mixer's bowl. With the whisk attachment on, mash the potatoes, adding some of the water they've boiled in. Once you have really light and very soft mashed potatoes turn your mixer off and let the potatoes cool down to room temperature. NOTE: The mashed potatoes need to be really soft and moist, not dense. Because the dip is going to get refrigerated, therefore the potatoes will thicken even more when cooled.
- Then add the pink Tarama into a blender or food processor along with the lemon juice, and the red onion peeled and cut into smaller pieces. Blend until smooth paste forms.
- Add this paste to the mashed potatoes. And using your electric mixer with the whisk on start mixing over medium speed, to incorporate the blended Tarama paste. (you may do this in a food processor if you own a large one that can fit the mashed potatoes) Then slowly pour in the olive oil while beating, until you have incorporated it all into the dip. Place the Tarama Dip in a food container or bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
- NOTE: You can make this dip using a potato masher instead of the electric mixer. But the dip won't be as smooth and creamy.
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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