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Taramasalata

Served with hot pitta - a type of unleavened bread - this soft, mild creamy fish pate is a famous Greek and Turkish speciality. Pitta can be bought at some Middle Eastern speciality shops in this country, but if unavailable Melba toast is a good substitute.

ingredients

serves 4 as a starter
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
50 g (2 oz) smoked cod's roe, skinned
1 garlic clove, crushed
150 ml (1/4 pint) vegetable, olive or corn oil
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp hot water
Freshly ground black pepper
Few parsley sprigs to finish

method

1. Put the bread in a small bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Squeeze dry.
Using an electric or rotary beater, beat the cod's roe until smooth.

2. Beat in the soaked bread and garlic, then work in the oil drop by drop, beating well as for mayonnaise. As the taramasalata becomes thicker, the oil can be added faster.

3. If the pate separates, crumble in a little more white bread to absorb the oil. Beat constantly until all the oil is incorporated, then stir in the lemon juice and hot water.

4. Spoon the taramasalata into a serving dish and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle with pepper. Garnish with a few parsley sprigs.

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