Taraba (tah-rah-bah) is a delicious and unusual dish from Turkey. Serve it with lots of crusty bread and some chilled rose wine, such as Roditys, for a super lunch.
2 lb. minced lamb
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
20 large spinach leaves, trimmed and blanched
2 oz. butter
8 oz. tomato puree
2 fl. oz. lemon juice
12 fl. oz. water
In a large mixing bowl, combine the lamb, onion, salt and paprika. Using your hands, mix and knead the ingredients well.
Divide the mixture into 20 balls.
Lay one spinach leaf on a working surface and place a meatball in the centre. Bring the spinach up to enclose the meatball completely and secure it with trussing thread. Continue making parcels in this way until all the meatballs have been covered.
In a large, shallow flameproof casserole, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, stir in the tomato puree, lemon juice and water and bring the liquid to the boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce the heat to low, add the meat-ball parcels to the casserole and cover. Simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasion-ally, or until the meatballs are cooked. Remove and discard the thread.
Remove the casserole from the heat and serve immediately.
Taramasalata is one of the specialities of Greek cuisine. Serve as an exciting hors d’oeuvre, with some Pita and chilled
COD’S ROE PASTE
This Greek hors d’oeuvre is traditionally made with tarama, the dried and pressed roe of the grey mullet, but smoked cod’s roe is widely used today when tarama is not available. Serve Taramasalata (tah-rah-mah-sah-lahta) with Pita.
1 lb. smoked cod’s roe, skinned
4 slices white bread, crusts removed and soaked in milk FOR 15 minutes
4 garlic cloves, crushed
10 fl. oz. olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper J cucumber, thinly sliced
6 firm tomatoes, sliced
6 black olives
Place the cod’s roe in a large mixing bowl and pound it with the end of a rolling pin, or use a pestle and mortar, until the gritty texture is eliminated.
Squeeze as much moisture out of the bread as possible and add it to the bowl, with the garlic. Continue pounding until the mixture is smooth.
Add the oil, a few drops at a time, pounding constantly and adding a little of the lemon juice from time to time. Continue pounding until the mixture forms a soft, smooth paste and is pale pink in colour.
Alternatively, place all the ingredients in the jar of an electric blender and blend at moderately high speed until a soft paste is formed.
Beat the pepper into the mixture and arrange equal quantities of it on 6 small serving plates. Surround the paste with the cucumber and tomato slices and top each portion with an olive. Serve immed-iately.