Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Greek Tarama prospers in Paris -- who knew?!

I have always loved "Taramasalata" or simply Tarama -- a Greek caviar spread made basically with fish roe blended with bread (or mashed potatoes), olive oil, and lemon juice. It goes very well with ouzo and seems to be somewhat of an acquired taste in the U.S. (just like ouzo)...and is certainly cheaper than pure caviar, I might add.

Grand Epicerie
So when in Paris recently, I was flabbergasted to find a variety of Taramas in a variety of stores, from the Bon Marche's Grand Epicerie (VII) to La Maree Beauvau traiteur in the historic Beauvais Market (XII) to the Franprix supermarket near our hotel on Rue Duret (XVI) -- proof-positive that the French really do know something about food, AND how to save money! 

(I suffered a similar shock when I first visited Canada and discovered "tzatziki" in almost every supermarket throughout Ontario. But there is only one kind of tzatziki, as long as you add enough dill - no matter how you cut or grate the cucumbers or how much garlic you add, and even though the commercial versions often include cream cheese and other strange things.)

Franprix Taramas
Here are the roe-based taramas I found in Paris:  Rose (regular pink), Ouefs de Cabillaud Sauvage (wild cod eggs), Corail d'Oursin (w/coral sea urchin), Piment d'Espilette (w/Basque chili pepper), Blanc (white w/cream or white cheese), Oeufs de Truite (trout eggs), Crabe (w/crab), and one made with Boutarque Memmi (dried mullet roe preserved in wax that is often shaved by chefs and used in lieu of Parmesan cheese).  In the end, I had to be settle for the basic pink tarama that Mr. Antonis of "Au P-Tit Grec" slathered onto a galette for my last meal in Paris.    

Amazingly enough, I discovered an 8 oz. jar of Krinos prepared Taramasalata (w/carp roe) in my downtown Miami neighborhood Price Choice Supermarket, which also has delightful seafood department with many off-beat offerings. My own rule of thumb is that if you can see the orange fish eggs in any "prepared" Taramasalata, it needs to be further blended and balanced with wet bread, olive oil (preferably Greek Koroneiki) and lemon juice until it thins out and is not too salty. (The Oriental Bakery & Grocery on Coral Way also carries the Krinos pure carp roe Tarama, which means you have to start the blend from scratch using the ingredients listed above.)

Today's re-blended batch will be tasted by the Miami Shores Library Recipe/Travel Book Club on Thursday. Let's see what they say...

Paula's Tarama
NOTE: We have been reading Eurydice Street (A Place in Athens) by Sofka Zinovieff (2004), an authentic and well-written memoir by a British anthropologist who married a Greek man and moved w/2 small children to an Athens suburb. It brought back many memories of my 10 years in Thessaloniki and updated me, too. Many things have changed, but some things will never change -- OPA!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paula--I love Eurydice Street--one of my favorite books about Greece! You might also like Dinner with Persephone: http://www.amazon.com/Dinner-Persephone-Travels-Patricia-Storace/dp/0679744789