I’m always a bit suspicious of the taramasalata I see in supermarkets, and that routinely served up as part of the meze collection in many eateries claiming to serve Middle Eastern food. They’re altogether too pink and creamy, whereas mine is sort of the colour of sand and stiff as paste. I have no idea what goes into the mass produced stuff, and I’d rather not, although I’d guess that smoked cod’s roe is at a premium. I make no claim to originality. My method is based on a recipe from the ever-delightful New Book of Middle Eastern Cookery by the wonderful Claudia Roden. I make mine in small batches and it consists of:
60g smoked roe (that I buy at fishmongers in Stroud Farmers’ Market
A small handful of dried bread
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Enough extra virgin olive oil
A sprinkling of cayenne pepper
Peel and blanch the garlic clove twice in boiling water, cooling it down in cold water each time. I want the garlic to hum along on the background rather than dominate proceedings. Grind it to pulp in a mortar with my pestle with the salt that helps the process. Grind the bread to a powder in the same way. Scrape the cod’s roe from its retain membrane and add to the mortar and pound to a mush with the other ingredients. Add the lemon juice and squelch that in too. Now add the olive oil in splashes, making sure the last splosh is fully absorbed before adding the next. Somewhere along the line, sprinkle a dash of cayenne pepper. How much depends how peppy you like your taramasalata. Very good on griddled foccacia.
NB Claudia Roden soaks her bread in milk or water, which would make it a little looser in texture. I like mine stiff and with a bit of punch to it.