Ed Smith’s take on taramasalata: a salty, smoky dip
Taramasalata is such a good dip—perfect with peppery radishes, fennel, carrots, or on hot toast or crackers.
As I explained in my article on fish offal, most recipes I read suggested adding oil to the roe and using a machine to blend it into an emulsion, like a mayonnaise. I wasn’t convinced—roe is so soft, whipping it up by hand isn’t too much of a chore.
Two other variants I tried included combining with soaked stale bread, which is possibly more authentically Greek taramasalata, and with creme fraiche, which requires less planning. I preferred the latter approach—partly because of the ease of buying a pot of creme fraiche over ensuring there are stale white bread crumbs at home, but mostly because I think the sharp, cooling tang of creme fraiche is particularly good paired with the smoky, salty roe.
Good for a party, or will last at least three days in the fridge.
200-250g smoked cod’s roe
60ml light olive oil
75-100ml extra virgin olive oil
200ml creme fraiche
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Make a cut along the skin of the roe sac and carefully peel the thin membrane away. It’s a bit like pulling a label from a bottle or finding the end of a roll of sellotape: fiddly, but quicker if you’re patient than if you lose your rag.
Discard the skin and any veins. Spoon the roe into a large bowl and mash with the back of a fork. Add the light olive oil, 1 tbsp at a time, mashing and whipping with the fork until incorporated. Repeat until all the light oil is used, then do the same with 75ml of the extra virgin olive oil. After a while, you will be able to use a wooden spoon or spatula to beat the roe and oil into a smooth paste. Don’t worry too much if it’s a bit flaky.
Spoon the creme fraiche into the roes and incorporate by beating with a wooden spoon or spatula, then use a balloon whisk to whip it a bit more and encourage a light texture. Add a pinch of white pepper, the lemon zest and juice, and whip the mix again.
Finally, add 1-2 tbsp more of olive oil for extra gloss and pepperiness, then whip one last time before decanting to a serving bowl.
Recipe & images: Ed Smith