… Because most of us have been doing it backwards and wrong and for sooooo long ! I’ve always known how to approximately make taramosalata dip, also known as “tarama” which should be a pale, creamy and almost mousse-like preparation of salt-cured fish roe, soaked bread, olive oil, lemon juice and some onion and my very recent trip to Montreal and long stay in my mama’s kitchen served as a confirmation of the “right way” to go about it.
There are different ways to prepare this tangy, salty and fishy dip, whether in Greek, Turkish or Jewish cuisines. The fish roe eggs used are salt-cured and often referred to as fish roe caviar because they resemble small, shiny, orange beads (and sometimes they are smoked like bottarga) and are usually harvested from grey mullet or cod fish, but carp roe is the easiest to find and is most often used.
Most people use soaked bread (in water but milk is possible too) but mashed potatoes are also an option, but result in a heavier preparation, and some also use ground almonds.
Using a light olive oil is my favorite option but some prefer a more neutral vegetable oil or a mix with some olive oil and more vegetable oil.
Lemon juice seems like a must to me but some have been known to use vinegar.
The small amount of very mild onion or shallot flavor is important and the additional bite of an added pinch of ground white pepper is optional but recommended.
So many recipes out there seem to mix things up backwards ? People unknowingly often add the soaked bread to the mixer at the beginning of the preparation and then add all the rest. The best way to make this, somewhat like a mayonnaise preparation but quite similar to a “toum” dip (see recipe here) is the onion and fish roe first, then some lemon juice, then more olive oil (to be repeated several times) and finally and only at the end, the soaked bread.
By the way, real tarama dip should be of a beige or very pale orange-pinkish color, but this depends on the ingredients used; the color of the fish roe (white fish roe is also available and is less intense in flavor), the color of the bread whether it is snow white or semi-whole wheat bread which I prefer and the oils used because olive oil will obviously darken the mixture more than a neutral and pale vegetable oil. Taramosalata should also taste intense yet feel fresh and light and smooth and not insipid or heavy nor oily or sticky.
Anyways, this is my mama’s perfect & exact recipe, but in a smaller and thus more manageable quantity, so please enjoy it … :)