Tarama (Salty Carp Roe Spread)
Being immigrants from Turkey, it was common in my family to have fish or salty meats with toast and tea in the morning. Perhaps our caviar wasn’t the expensive Russian kind, but we often spread salty tarama, or “carp roe,” on our toast instead of jelly. In the 1970’s ready-made taramosalata became available in markets. It tastes okay. But this home-made version of tarama which I learned from my dear Tant Ida is far superior in flavor and texture. The caviar for tarama is bright orange and readily found in Breek, Turkish and Iranian markets. The nice thing about making your own tarama is that one jar of plain roe can make up to four jars worth of ready-made spread. In Turkish we say “Afiyet olsun” or “May it be pleasing to you!”
- 5 to 6 slices day-old or stale Baguette bread
- ½ cup plain carp roe caviar (bright orange) (readily found in Greek, Turkish, Iranian markets)
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- Soak bread in bowl of cool water for 5 minutes. Gently peel away crust and discard. Firmly squeeze bread between your palms to remove all water and place in a medium-sized bowl. Add tarama to bowl.
- With a mixer set on high, whip together tarama and bread as you gradually and alternately add a little oil and lemon. Mix until ingredients the mixture comes to a spreadable consistency like mayonnaise. (Do not use a food processor or tarama will be too watery).
- To serve, transfer to shallow serving platter and garnish with black olives and/or lemon slices and a sprig of parsley. Tarama will remain fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week. To keep it longer, store it in a jar topped with a head of olive oil.