We’ve all heard of the Sturgeon Roe (fish eggs) Caviar that is the classic and very expensive gourmet item we can’t afford. But if you want a luxury taste for much cheaper, look for and try Taramasalata.
It is a Greek dish (similar products are from the nearby Balkans and Turkey) that combine a salted and cured fish roe (usually cod or carp) with a neutral base (often whipped potatoes, soaked bread or simply an oil emulsion). It is a salty, savory, special flavor often spread on bread or crackers or as a dip for raw vegetables. The name comes from the Greek for fish roe (Taramas) and salad (Salata).
I discovered this tasty treat when I lived in an apartment on the Upper East Side of New York and shopped at a wonderful fresh market (Agata & Valentina) that is still a great place. They had a tray in the deli counter and I loved to have them scoop out a fresh portion to take home. I disdained the commercially jarred version (Krinos Taramosalata) as inferior and always returned to Agata & Valentina when I hankered for a fresh batch.
I recently made the trek to my favorite market but there was no tray in their deli display case. I asked what day they might make up a fresh batch so I could return. He walked over to a refrigerator shelf and pulled down a jar of the Krinos and handed it to me. I objected as I wanted the store made version and he assured me that they simply scooped it from the jars into the tray – “same thing, same thing” he insisted.
Gourmet assumption shattered. Lesson learned. Try some Taramasalata yourself (you can find it at Greek restaurants also, but my bet is they are just scooping it from a jar!).