Tarama with Shredded Lobster

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Preparation info

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About

The inclusion of a recipe for this - the most ubiquitous of dips - may seem unnecessary, until you do a little research and find how few people ever make it for themselves. For the majority it seems that taramasalata is a pink substance produced in small plastic pots and seemingly made from rancid fish oils, food dye and unpleasant chemical substances. This revolting glop is sold at a premium price, presumably to much laughter from the managements involved in its production and marketing - who doubtless find the idea of people paying for it nothing less than incredible.

The original taramasalata of the Eastern Mediterranean was made from the salted roes of grey mullet but today it is more commonly made from cod’s roe. Even working with a blindfold and with one hand tied behind your back, leaving the other free to turn the food processor on and off, real tarama takes no more than five minutes to make and is delicious. It is pale golden in colour, a light and fragrant mixture of smoked cod’s roe, bread, lemon juice and olive oil, all beaten to a creamy purée. The precise percentages of the ingredients are not fixed; for example, you can use more bread for a less intense - and cheaper - result. The texture should be thick enough to scoop up with bread, but how stiff you make it is up to you. This depends ultimately on the amount of olive oil you use. For a lighter finish, the purée can be thinned with a little water after the oil has been beaten in.

For a luxurious variation on this simple theme, shredded boiled lobster is scattered over each serving. If this sounds outrageous, settle for a little more parsley and some olives.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of white bread, crusts removed
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 350 g/12 oz smoked cod’s roe, skin on
  • ½ red onion
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1-1½ lemons
  • about 100 ml/ fl oz extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • black pepper
  • 1 cooked lobster, weighing about 900 g/2 lb, or about 20 stoned black olives
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley

Method

Preparation

Dice the bread and put it into a bowl with the milk to soften.

Cut open the thick skin of the roe and scrape the eggs into the food processor (the skin is of no culinary use). You will have 115—170 g/4-6oz of eg‘gs.

Peel and dice the red onion. Trim the spring onions and slice across thinly. Add with the diced red onion to the roe. Juice one lemon and pour over the lemon juice, season with pepper and process at full speed.

With the machine still running, add the olive oil in a thin stream through the feeder tube. Switch off and scrape down the sides.

Taste and add more lemon juice if you want a sharper finish, then whizz again. If too thick, dribble in a little cold water with the machine running.

Holding point - the taramasalata will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, but is best eaten within 48 hours.

Serving

Spoon some tarama into the centre of each of 4 flat serving plates. With the spoon, spread the tarama in a spiral to fill the plate. Scatter over pieces of lobster meat or olives. Dribble over some olive oil and scatter over parsley leaves.

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