The Greeks use taramas, which is ideally the dried and salted roe of the grey mullet; but more usually less expensive dried and salted cod or tuna roe, for this famous dish. In Greece, imported tarama is usually sold as a paste from large tubs. It is coloured deep pink, although some shops do sell the more expensive uncoloured tarama. Delicatessens in Europe or America sometimes stock taramás;
Otherwise substitute cod’s roe (unsmoked) which you have skinned and mashed down with a little lemon juice. The Greeks of antiquity probably introduced the art of salting fish roe to Italy and France (in the latter case via their colony at Massilia, or Marseilles).
The names of the French salted roe speciality known as “boutargue” and the Italian “botargo” are both etymologically related to the Greek word taramasaláta is sometimes made with potatoes instead of bread – preference for one recipe or the other is a matter of personal taste. 12 oz (350 g) white bread (dry weight) which is two or three days old and has hardened, crusts removed This should be de-salted by cutting it into thick pieces and steeping in cold water for about 30 minutes, then carefully draining and rinsing it. Press out any remaining water by squeezing it in a muslin cloth or jelly bag. 1/4 teaspoon finely grated white onion (optional but recommended just the right amount will enhance the flavour of the tarama. Too much will destroy it!). Juice of 1 small lemon Olive oil – you will need at least 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) Soak the bread in a bowl with enough slightly warmed milk to cover for 15 minutes, then squeeze it dry with your hands. Mix together the tarama, bread, and onion. A food processor is ideal for the purpose.
Then, setting the machine at a moderate speed, add oil and lemon juice alternately and slowly until a thick, creamy but not runny consistency is acquired. Serve with warm grilled pita bread or toast and lemon wedges so that your guests can squeeze fresh juice on the taramasaláta.
To make taramasalátawith potatoes, substitute 12 oz (350g) cold, mashed potato for the bread. Serves 4-fi when combined with other mezedes.