TARAMA WITH DRY RUSK BREAD
The "Triodion" period is a ten-week period, beginning on the Sunday of the Taurus and the Pharisee, and lasts until Holy Saturday. Lent and Holy Week are also included in this period. It is a period of preparation for the Resurrection.
The three weeks of the Triodion before Lent are a period of joy and fun for all of Greece. In the first week, which we called "Weekend" in Crete, we do not fast on either Wednesday or Friday. The second week was without any food restrictions. On Thursday of this week we call it "Tsiknopempti", with meat being cooked on charcoal. The third and last week is called "Cheese", with cheese and dairy on the table almost every day. Apart from the cheese dumplings, there were pies of different shapes and types.
The fourth week, on Holy Monday, begins the “Great Forty” or Lent. In Crete there was a great variety of customs on this day. Dominant was spontaneity. On this day "everything is allowed, everything can be done". The habit of wearing their clothes back to front or inside out, dressing up donkeys and mules, men dressing up as women, and vice versa, could describe the climate of general upheaval. These customs have somewhat declined today but some are preserved in certain areas of the island.
But what we keep to this day is the respect for the nutritional particulars of the day. They used to never eat meat or other food of animal origin on that day.
The food on this day is not a family affair, but is a table set with a food contributed in the center of the village or elsewhere with a universal gathering, depending on the weather, on a plateau, hill or beach, as the sun at this time is what we want it to keep us warm.
The fun of “Clean Monday” (Shrove Tuesday) was a continuation of celebration from the day before. Some were painted with black shoe polish. They went from house to house and stopped at every door, drank raki and wished them a good Lent. When everyone had gathered, the feast began and kept going until the priest rang the church bells for the first evening of Lent. This was the custom to mark the end of the fun carnival period and the beginning of the Lent period leading up to the Resurrection.
On this day, “Clean Monday”, at dawn, the ovens are ready for the “lagana”, unleavened bread made only that day. Taramasalata, halva, seafood, vegetables, olives and beans have their honor. In recent decades, dozens of young children with their parents take trips to beaches or the countryside to fly their kites, weather permitting. Convoys of cars pour onto beaches, parks, taverns and where a daily feast is set up.
125g of red tarama (cod roe egg)
400g of dry rusk bread
200ml olive oil
100ml lemon juice
Put the dry rusk bread in a bowl with water and soak it very well. Transfer it to a towel and drain very well to remove most moisture.
In a mixer beat the tarama with the olive oil until it’s fluffy.
Add the rusk bread and continue to mix until the taramasalta is smooth.
Gradually pour the lemon juice and mix to combine.
The dry rusk bread will give special aromas and taste to the taramasalata (but you could also use yesterday’s stale bread with the crust cut off).
400g of bread should be soaked and drained.
The amount of lemon juice is according to your taste preferences so try it to see how acidic you want the taramasalata.
The whole secret to successful taramasalta is very good blending.