July 18th is National Caviar Day. Caviar is a delicacy often associated with the upper crust. Guess what? It’s just salt-cured fish roe, or fish eggs. Wild sturgeon from the Caspian Sea is the usual source of traditional caviar. But red salmon and carp roes are also considered a culinary delight. My favorite Greek appetizer, taramosalta, is a spread made from carp, cod, or salmon roe, which is available in most Greek and Middle Eastern markets. My favorite Greek restaurant, the Greek Islands in Chicago’s Greek Town, makes it with cod roe, onions, and potatoes.
I prefer to let the Greeks prepare my taramosalata and eat this tasty treat in a restaurant. But I haven’t always lived in areas where Greek restaurants abound. At those times I’ve pulled out the recipe a Greek friend gave me more than 25 years ago and made my own when I’ve had a hankering for the appetizer spread. It calls for using bread as a thickener rather than potatoes. That substitution makes it easier to prepare.
· 2 T Cod, Carp, or Salmon roe (the Caviar Rousse brand is available at Whole Foods)
· 1 T Onion, minced
· 4 slices of White Bread, crusts removed and torn into small pieces
· 1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
· 2 T fresh Lemon Juice
· Put roe and onion into food processor or blender and puree.
· Add bread to mixture and chop well.
· With food processor or blender running, drizzle oil into mixture and continue blending until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.
· Add lemon juice and blend thoroughly.
· Serve cold with crusty bread slices. (I like my bread covered with sesame seeds.)
Want to go uptown a bit? Make a simple caviar dip! It’s uber-easy and inexpensive.
Black Caviar Canapés
· 1 C Whipped Cream Cheese
· 1 T Sweet Onion, minced
· 2 T Black Caviar
· 2 T Chives, snipped with kitchen shears
· Water Crackers
· Place softened cream cheese into a mixing bowl.
· Blend onion into cream cheese.
· Use spatula to fold caviar into cream cheese mixture.
· Spread equal amounts of mixture onto water crackers.
· Sprinkle chives on top of crackers.
· Place on platter and serve.
Photo Courtesy of Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net