Taramasalata: A Seasonal Savior

This post was generously contributed by Heidi Robb, a natural foods enthusiast with a penchant for wholesome real food.  Heidi blogs about her life in recipes – one of the most visually stunning real food blogs I’ve ever happened across.  With a personal history in the restaurant business, Heidi has transitioned into culinary media where she blends her passion for natural foods with a talent for writing and photography.  I’m so thankful she shared her recipe for taramasalata – a beautiful dish featuring nutrient-dense fish roe and one of my favorite seasonings: smoked paprika.  If you have a dish or a special post you’d like to share at Nourished Kitchen, please contact me. Blessings — Jenny

Omega-3: A Seasonal Savior

Figuring, if the Eskimo people could make it through long, frigid winter months of darkness without soul-weakening bouts of the blues, it was time to channel my inner Inuit and adopt a fat-enriched, omega-3 diet in hopes that my own seasonally sad spirit would benefit. Luckily, I like full-flavored fish, so it was easy to fill my cupboards, refrigerator and belly with omega-3 dense meal additions. Tins of sardines, mackerel, smoked oysters, anchovies and tuna went into the cupboard – simple lunches at the ready with just a pop of the tab and some grainy mustard, crackers and fresh vegetables. In the refrigerator were jars of pickled herring ready to enjoy as-is, or to enhance creamed style with a dollop of yogurt or creme fraîche and sliced onion, as well as a piece of bottarga (dried and cured roe of grey mullet) to grate on salads or pasta to give the salty umami punch I crave. And taramasalata. I was going through a jar of the creamy Greek-style carp roe delicacy at an alarming rate. On the run, I generously slather home made crisps with the pale pink stuff several times a day. Though tasting good and satisfying, I didn’t want to be eating so much soy oil (a major ingredient in the jarred product), and began easily making my own healthier version with a higher quality of oil and whole grain sourdough bread.

A couple of weeks ago I started noticing some true physical differences: my hair which is generally dry and frizzy during Cleveland’s arid winter was thick, shiny, healthy and growing full corkscrew curls. My skin appeared clear, lips moist and crack-free. In fact, a woman much younger than myself stopped me and asked what product I used on my face – how’s that for a seasonal lift! The exterior routine hadn’t varied, but the extra interior nutrition was giving me an entire body glow from the inside out. Most importantly, my mood has been mostly elevated and outlook positive, energy high and steady, and coping with unexpected stress – not a such an enormous deal. The couple of days I succumbed completely to collapse was justifiable exhaustion derived from a Herculean holiday work schedule. I fully and completely believe the daily additions of concentrated omega- 3 foods to my diet are what made the difference. February has been fabulous for the first time in years – you’ll get no carping from me.

taramasalata from overhead

taramasalata

By Jenny Published: February 12, 2010

  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups (6 Servings)
  • Prep: 10 mins

Taramasalata is a traditional Greek dip made of fish roe, lemon and olive oil.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces crustless whole grain sourdough bread (soaked in water)
  • 1/2 cup tarama (carp roe available in jars)
  • 2 - 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 large pastured egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups unrefined extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced shallot

Instructions

  1. Squeeze the water from the bread and place in the bowl of a food processor with the tarama. Process until combined. Add 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and the optional smoked paprika and process to blend.
  2. Drop in the yolk and pulse to blend. Very slowly, drizzle in the olive oil and process until the mixture is whipped, light in color and creamy. Add in additional lemon juice to taste.
  3. At this point, if the mixture is too thick, add in some water, a little at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Remove mixture to a bowl and stir in the minced shallot.
  4. Keeps one week covered in the refrigerator.

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What people are saying

  1. says

    I used to work with a nutritionist who swore by a daily tablespoon or two of cod liver oil as the ultimate anti-aging skin moisturizer (amongst other benefits). So it’s great to hear you are getting the same results with small whole fish & roe. I did the CLO for many years but these days, I’m crazy for chia seed – the richest source of omega-3 on the planet and a traditional food in Southern US, Mexico and Central America. I learned about chia while researching a little booklet that’s coming out next month from Woodland Publishing, titled Chia Seed, of course! Excuse the plug, but I think you and your readers will be interested to learn more. Love your blog – thank you for the useful information and tasty recipes. ☀diana

  2. says

    Hi!
    I have a quick question about yogurt. Have you heard if yogurt is mucus- forming? I have a cold and am dying for some yogurt but I know dairy is mucus forming and don’t want to make it worse. I thought maybe yogurt was different. Thanks!! :)

  3. Liberty Cowden says

    I am too excited for words….can’t wait to see if I experienc the same results after adding this to my diet…Mmmmm!

  4. JenE says

    This is the first winter where I am consuming loads of rich omega 3 foods. I too see and feel a difference. Even with our colder than normal temps, my skin (all over) is not dry and/or itchy, my lips are not cracked. A real plus!!
    Thanks for the recipe : ).

  5. says

    Laurie: I have been able to find the Krinos brand in Mediterranean specialty shops. No coloring added.

    Karen: The dip is actually a very, very pale creamy coral color which is apparent in the top photo (at least it is on my screen!). The abundant oil whipped in lightens the mixture tremendously.

    Heidi

  6. Devon Hernandez says

    This sounds sooooo yummy!

    Quick question though for clarification…when your directions say “squeeze water from the bread” and add to the food processor, are you referring to putting the water, or the bread, in the food processor? I’m confused there…but maybe it’s just me… :)

  7. Sheila says

    I tried this! It’s a strong flavor, but I liked it. VERY HARD to find Tarama here though, so for those of you struggling, or not having any Greek or Mediteranean markets nearby, check your local Greek Restaurant menus. If they serve the taramasalata on their menu, they may sell you a jar of tarama! That’s how I found it.
    Cheers!

  8. says

    This is so awesome. I’ve been wanting to try this for so long. You’ve given me the inspiration to finally do it! Carp roe is so reasonably priced compared to other roes, and it has fins and scales!

  9. says

    I was intrigued when I read this post a couple weeks ago, and since I had no idea where else to find it I immediately looked for tarama on amazon. I didn’t find any products I felt comfortable with, plus shipping was kind of ridiculous, so I shelved the idea.
    Well, last week I stopped in a newer market that I’d been meaning to check out and what do you know, I was perusing the cheese and assorted deli case when I noticed a jar of taramasalata. I thought – hey! that’s the stuff! And right next to it were two different brands of tarama so, after checking the labels, I picked the one who’s only ingredient is carp roe. I kinda had an internal freak out right there I was so excited :o) Take away lesson: keep an eye out, you never know where you’ll find real food!
    I made the recipe tonight and I love it. I used the smoked paprika and plenty of lemon juice, grated the shallot on my microplane ribbon grater, and omitted the egg yolk (I don’t have pastured eggs). It reminds me of the smoked salmon balls my mom makes, just loads better for me. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  10. Sandra Mort says

    I went to the local caviar store tonight and was sad to see that they don’t have tarama. They said they’d try to order some, though, and I consoled myself with a 4oz can of wild Russian salmon roe. Now… what to do with it…

  11. Amy says

    hi Jenny,
    I wondering where you buy your fish roe? Its $13 dollars for 1.75 oz here and I’d like to eat more of it, but its so expensive. Do you have a good online source you use? I know you live in Colorado. I live in Fort Collins. Do you know anyone in the area who sells it? Thanks,
    Amy

  12. Karen C. says

    I finally found the tarama in the refridgerated section by the horseradish and other stuff like that. I had (wrongly)assumed that it was shelf-stable. This store carries a lot of Kronos and other Greek products.

    I don’t eat bread or grains. Any other ideas on what to eat the taramasalata on? Carrot or celery sticks?

  13. Jenny says

    Karen -

    If you’re grain-free, I’d eat taramasalata on vegetables.  Sliced cucumber, over fried or poached eggs, carrot sticks would all be good.  Taramasalata typically contains bread crumbs, though, so you might want to subsitute something else.  I’ve heard of white beans being used, but I’m not sure if you’re also legume-free in addition to grain-free.

    - Jenny

  14. marina says

    My pantry is also stocked with canned sardines, mussels and salmon! For a quick lunch I fry up an egg, cut up some veggies and open a can of sardines (sardines in mustard sauce are my favorites).
    I used to eat taramasalata when growing up, I should be getting it again at the polish store, or maybe find some tarama too!

  15. Linda says

    I have a question, I have an opened jar of tarama for a few months but it hasn’t expired yet. It is still good to use/eat?

  16. Dani says

    I noticed that you soak the bread in water. Ive seen recipes where the bread is soaked in milk instead of water. Have you tried this? Wonder how it changes the final product.

  17. Dani says

    I noticed that you use water to soak the bread. Ive seen recipes that soak it in milk instead. Have you tried that? Wondering how it changes the final product.

  18. zhinka chunmee says

    Please stop using the bad word eskimo,it is as bad as using the N word for blacks or calling a white person a cracker.
    We prefer to be called Inuit, I know most people do not care about us native Inuits and like to use the slurr, but I would appreciate it if you would not use it on a site that is supposed to be friendly. I know mostly whites use this site,but some of us are of other races and it would be nice to not feel racially attacked.

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