Creamy, smooth and absolutely delicious! A traditional Taramasalata recipe (or Taramosalata) made from fish roe, olive oil, lemon juice, grated onions and bread. It is often served as part of a meze platter for special occasions. Simply delicious!
So read along to discover how to make the very best taramasalata (taramosalata) recipe with my tips and tricks, my delicious recipe, serving suggestions and recipe variations!
What is Taramasalata?
Taramasalata (sometimes spelt taramosalata) is a delicious fish roe based dip made of salted and cured roe of cod or carp and sometimes, even grey mullet or bottarga. It is a velvety smooth dip that is mixed with olive oil and lemon juice and added to a starch base, which can be either bread of potatoes.
Taramasalata is commonly served during Shrove Monday, also known as “Clean” Monday, which is the first day of the Greek Easter lent. It is called “Clean Monday” because its the day where Greek Orthodox people cleansed their body and spirit and prepared themselves for the 40 days of Easter lent.
What you’ll need to make Taramasalata the traditional way
The store-bought taramasalata simply can’t compare with this homemade taramasalata recipe. Mass-produced taramasalata is, more often than not, of poor quality and has a very bright pink hue due to the addition of food colouring along with lots of unnecessary thickeners and preservatives.
Fresh taramasalata is really easy to make at home, as the tarama and bread mixture is emulsified with olive oil, giving it a natural thickness, smoothness and exquisite taste. Depending on the type of roe used, its colour can vary from light beige to pale pink.
To make your own taramasalata, all you will need is:
- White fish roe: You’ll need some white fish roe, such as cod, carp or mullet. While some supermarkets stock fish roe, your best bet would be to visit your local fishmonger and order some in advance.
- White bread: Grab yourself some crusty bread and leave it out of its bag for a couple of days to let its moisture reduce. Don’t forget to remove the crust and just use the white part. I would avoid sliced toasted bread as it is high in sugar and preservatives so it won’t go stale but rather it will turn mouldy first!
- Olive oil: Any good quality, extra virgin olive oil will give your taramasalata a delicious earthy flavour!
- Lemons: A couple of ripe lemons will give your taramasalata that extra zing and balance out the fish roe saltiness.
- Red onion: One medium sized red onion, finely grated, will give your sauce that extra “kick”.
Key Preparation Tips
Making taramasalata is very simple. Firstly you’ll need to remove the crust from your bread and soak it in water. Before moving on to the next step, make sure you squeeze out as much of the water as you can!
Then grab your food processor, add the bread, the finely grated onion and the tarama (fish roe). Blend it until the ingredients are mashed and resemble a pulp. Add half the lemon juice and blend a little bit more.
Now its time to emulsify your taramasalata. Take the inner lid off your food processor and turn it on medium speed. Slowly add the olive oil while blending, like making mayonnaise. Carry on blending until all of the oil is incorporated in the mixture and the taramasalata dip is smooth and creamy.
Next, grab a spoon and give your taramasalata a taste. Add some more lemon juice if you want some extra zing and blend again.
What to do if the fish roe is very salty
Depending on the type of fish roe, it may be more or less salty. If you find that your taramasalata is too salty, then add some more bread, oil and a bit of lemon juice to balance it out.
Alternatively, give your fish roe a taste before making it. If you find it too salty then soak it for 10-15 minutes in some water to remove the excess salt before making your taramasalata.
While I like to keep it traditional by adding just lemon juice and red onions, you can experiment by adding your favourite herbs and seasoning as well!
I find that died parsley complements the fish taste particularly well as it adds a bit of freshness to the dish. Also a sprinkling of paprika works great, especially with lighter coloured roes.
Finally, if you are a fan, you can also add one clove of peeled and crushed garlic. Just make sure you add half the garlic, blend, and taste it first, as the garlic can overpower the fish roe taste and turn your dip more to a Skordalia (greek garlic dip).
Making ahead of time and storing
You can make the tarama dip up to 7 days before you need it and simply store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also store any leftovers the same way!
Taramasalata is commonly served as part of a meze platter, especially on Shrove Monday, the first day of the Easter lent, together with some:
- Skordalia (garlic and potatoes dip)
- Hummus dip
- Μelitzanosalata (aubergine dip)
- Vegan tzatziki sauce
- Crispy Greek Fried Eggplant
- Crispy Fried Zucchini – Courgette Fritters
- Greek Dolmades (stuffed vine leaves with rice)
- Authentic Greek Fava Recipe (Yellow Split Peas Puree)
And of course some delicious lenten nibbles, like:
- Crispy fried calamari (kalamarakia tiganita)
- Tinos Fennel Fritters
- Tomatokeftedes (Fried Santorini Tomato Balls / Tomato Fritters)
- Or a more hearty dish like my Vegan moussaka with lentils
Of course no meze platter is complete without some delicious bread and pitas on the side!
- Traditional Greek Pita bread
- Greek “village style” rustic bread
- Easy sourdough bread
- Easy no knead bread
A traditional, creamy and absolutely delicious Taramasalata recipe made in 15′! This Greek dip is made from fish roe, olive oil, lemons, onions and bread.
- 100g white tarama (fish roe) (3.5 oz.)
- 300g white stale bread (crust removed), soaked in water and squeezed (10 oz.)
- 170–180 ml olive oil (3/4 of a cup)
- juice 2 lemons
- 1 medium red onion, grated
- To prepare this delicious taramasalata recipe, start by soaking the bread (crust removed) in water and squeeze well to remove the excess water.
- In a food processor add the bread, grated onion and the tarama. Blend until the ingredients are mashed (like a pulp). Add half lemon juice and blend a little more. Pour in the olive oil gradually (just a little bit at a time) whilst blending, like making mayonnaise. Blend until the oil is incorporated and the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste the taramasalata add some more lemon juice, according to preference and blend again.
- Serve this traditional Greek taramasalata dip with lots of home made pita breads aside.
- Serving Size: 1 portion
- Calories: 348kcal
- Sugar: 4g
- Sodium: 261.1mg
- Fat: 23.8g
- Saturated Fat: 3.6g
- Unsaturated Fat: 19.1g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 27.8g
- Fiber: 1.7g
- Protein: 8.4g
- Cholesterol: 62.3mg
Keywords: Taramasalata, Greek Fish Roe dip recipe, How to make Taramosalata, Tarama dip