Saturday, April 29, 2006

Taramasalata



On the left, you see some odds and ends of my homemade bread. It comes from a culture I started about 2 years ago and that now lives in my fridge. On the right, ingredients for "Taramasalata" a dip made from carp roe "caviar" (yummy!), lots of stale bread (getting even better, no?), extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. I promise this is not just not-as-bad-as-it-sounds; it's actually delicious. *****IMBB #25, Derrick of "An Obsession With Food" has asked us to give our ideas for recipes using up stale bread. I'm happy to share this one and even happier to see all the creative ideas other bloggers have come up with.
Last Sunday, we had yet another smaller Easter celebration and made a Greek dinner for some friends. One favorite menu item was Taramasalata. Making taramasalata is somewhat similar to making mayonnaise in that you seek to achieve an emulsion with oil and lemon juice. Here, though you will alternate adding oil then lemon juice and oil again. Each time you add oil and stir, you will thicken the mixture and when you add lemon juice, you’ll thin it out. The best type of bread to use is a sturdy, several-days-old, semolina loaf. You don’t want any bread that turns to paste when wet. Here's the dish:

4 ozs very dry white bread, crusts removed
juice of 2 lemons
1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
1 jar (10 oz) of tarama (carp roe) **Found at Greek grocery stores.

Soak the bread in cold water for 10 minutes, then cut off the crusts (much easier after the bread has soaked) and squeeze out as much water as you can. Place the bread in a very large, wooden mortar & pestle (a Goudi, pronounced goo-THEE)(see upper right-hand photo) along with the tarama.

**DISCLAIMERS: You may have noticed in the ingredients photo that I do not actually have tarama. It seems that Italy, a close neighbor of Greece doesn't import the stuff. I typically buy it in Chicago or Minneapolis and re-import it back across the sea to Italy whenever I get the chance.This time, though we used "uova di lumpo", which turned out nicely, if a little too pink for my taste. This is an old-school recipe. Most Greeks who make their own Taramasalata these days use a food processor. Gabriel believes that the mortar and pestle way gives a better texture, so we do it the traditional way. He's also good at making mayonnaise from scratch which you should be if you want to make this by hand.

Pound and mix the bread and tarama together with the pestle to form a uniform paste. Music to pound and mix tarama by: Alt-accordion rockers, They Might Be Giants' "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)". Try to keep you mind off the pounding violence between Turkey and Greece represented by the song and focus on the mixing of these cultures that exists despite so much nationalism. Slowly add olive oil in a thin stream (about 1 tbsp at a time) while stirring and grinding with the pestle. Stir vigorously to incorporate, then add another tablespoon. Continue like this until you have added ½ cup of oil and the mixture is rather liquid. Now add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and stir to incorporate. Add another tablespoon and incorporate again. Alternate between adding oil and adding lemon juice until you have a thick, mayonnaise-like consistency, and the taste is a balance between the flavors of lemon, seafood and salt.

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10 Comments:

Blogger rowena said...

This does sound tasty and the best part about it is that it uses up stale bread. I'm all for frugality because bread is one item that I just hate to waste. Let's see...I've made croutons, bread crumbs, bread stuffing, french toaste, why not some of this too!

1:19 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Rowena,
Maybe you should write up a recipe for one of those things and send it to "Is My Blog Burning?". What do you put in bread stuffing other than bread?

9:34 AM  
Blogger evelyn said...

"Istambul" was the last straw...we couldn't resist making you a silly little present at surfeit of lampreys

9:22 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Evelyn! That's so great! "Smokin' Banana Peels"... And the Ice Cream Man song has to be one of my favorites. I love it! Now I really gotta figure out how to listen to MP3s. Keep rocking out with your musical selections of the week. I'll get there eventually.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Yum! I'm hungry now. That stuff looks amazing. Really I swear we will one day start making more things from scratch!

8:48 PM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

they might be giants is one of my all-time favorites. good choice, susan!

12:20 PM  
Anonymous paz said...

Very cool recipe!

Paz

7:07 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Expat, If you decide to do this recipe from scratch, USE A FOOD PROCESSOR it's really hard to get it to come out right otherwise. I can't do it, only Gabriel can.
Hello Melissa, TMBG is a lot of fun! I saw them once in college. So dorky and yet so punk.
Hi Paz, Thanks, I dig the new pics of NYC!

10:26 PM  
Blogger Tracie B. said...

i have an idea!! BREADCRUMBS. becha never thought of that huh?

1:50 AM  
Blogger Omar Cruz said...

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2:08 AM  

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