Amazing what a few sunny days and a bit of warmth will do for you. I’ve already abandoned the casserole and returned to salads, so when I saw a splendid display of cod roes at my fishmonger I couldn’t resist the urge to make my favourite Greek dip, taramasalata, writes Sandra Tate …
Being a twin sacked and very fragile, they do bear an uncanny resemblance to testicles and so I took the precaution of smoking and peeling the membrane from them for my opening image here. As you can see, they are delicate, fine, and most definitely not the shade of pastel pink of commercially produced taramasalata.
Of course smoked cod’s roe is not just for taramasalata, weighing in at around 400g there’s going to be plenty left for spreading on toast with cream cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice.
150g smoked cod’s roe
100g stale white bread, crumbed
1 clove garlic, crushed
juice of a lemon, to taste
light olive oil (75ml-100ml)
warm pitta bread to serve
Smoking the cod’s roe: sprinkle sea salt into a dish, carefully lay the cod’s roe over it, then sprinkle more salt over the surface. Cover and leave in a cool place for an hour then rinse and pat dry. Leave on a Bradley wire rack to dry for a further couple of hours. Add applewood bisquettes to the stack of your Bradley Smoker and set to 70°C. Once the cabinet has reached its temperature, smoke the cod’s roe for 2 hours. The membrane will be golden and easy to peel away, leaving a bowl of crumbly, lightly smoked roe. 1 The bread crusts must be removed before the bread is crumbed. Soak the crumbs briefly in cold water then squeeze out the moisture.
2 Crumble the cod’s roe into a food processor and add the soaked bread, crushed garlic and juice of half a lemon, process until smooth, then begin to add light olive oil in a steady drizzle (as you would with mayonnaise) until you have a thick, creamy consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding a little salt, ground white pepper, and more lemon juice if necessary. Cover and refrigerate for several hours to mellow the flavours before serving.
3 Serve with kalamata olives and other meze dishes such as hummus, melitzanosalata, and zatziki, together with piping hot pitta breads.