Monday, February 22, 2010


Sometimes taramosalata is made with potatoes. They replace bread, which is the more common ingredient used to dilute tarama. I don't know if this is a regional preference or just a recipe variation. Since tarama is often eaten during Lent, when there are many fasting restrictions, potatoes might have been added to make a more filling salad.
I have a particular fondness for this recipe, and it's slowly becoming my go to recipe for tarama.  It's lemony, with a mild tarama flavor, but if you like it stronger, you can add a little more tarama.  The taste of the potatoes is subtle, and it adds a little more complexity to the salad than bread does.  
Tarama made with potatoes reminds me of the following story, which my mother loves to tell: Once, when my parents were newly married, my mother made taramosalata with potatoes instead of bread. It was around Easter time, and relatives were coming for dinner. She was going to offer taramosalata made with potatoes as an appetizer. When my father tasted it, he hit the roof. He started yelling at her: "What have you done? Why did you put potatoes in the tarama? They'll be laughing at us!" He had never heard of that version of the recipe and he was very upset. His antics ruined my mother's confidence in the quality of the dishes she had prepared. Neither one of my parents was happy to see the company arrive. As it turned out the taramosalata was eaten with pleasure, and the guests complimented her cooking! I don't know what exactly, if anything, that little incident taught my father.  I know he kept his hot-temper, but I don't remember him criticizing my mother's cooking.
This tarama is based on a recipe I came across years ago, when it was published in the New York Times.  A great newspaper!!!


  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/4 of an onion, chopped
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, boiled, peeled, cooled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup blanched almonds, ground up
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) tarama
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • Have ready your food processor fitted with its blade. Mix the onion, potatoes and almonds until they are finely incorporated and the mixture looks smooth.
Potatoes, almonds and tarama.  I didn't have a scale so I guessed as to how much a pound of potatoes was.  As it turned out, I used a little too much, but it wasn't a problem taste-wise.  
  • Add the tarama and keep mixing until it's blended.
  • Add the lemon juice, and mix.

  • While the processor is working add the vegetable oil in a slow, steady stream. Add the olive oil slowly, mixing constantly. Stop when the salad has the consistency of mayonnaise or of a mouse.
 The tarama straight out of the food processor.  As you can see it's thick and fluffy, with a mayonnaise-like texture.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
  • This should make about four cups, plenty for leftovers or to send home with guests.

What is Tarama?

What we purchase as bottled tarama is the salted and cured roe (or caviar) of carp fish. What is roe? That’s the ripe ovary and the masses of fish eggs it contains. Carp roe (or hard roe), is aged for about a year before it’s ready to be sold as tarama. Tarama is not eatable plain, and should be turned into taramosalata before eating. Taramosalata is made by adding bread, lemon juice and oil to a portion of tarama. The mixture should have a light orange color. The more it is diluted with bread and oil (or potatoes as is the case in the recipe here), the lighter its color becomes.


  1. This was a very interesting post. I learned about Tarama too!

  2. Thank you for dinner, Ana, and we really enjoyed your tarama. I copied the recipe. We'll talk to you guys soon.

    With love, Ellen.