Shrove Monday is the day after Carnival and the first day of the Orthodox Great Lent which lasts for forty days until Easter. Like any other festive day, Shrove Monday has its own traditions. Adults love it for the food and children love the flying of the kites.
In Greek it is called “Clean Monday” because we don’t eat meat, dairy products, and only certain types of fish are traditionally allowed. All the bakeries in the country bake only one kind of bread, lagána, a very tasty flat oval bread sprinkled with sesame seeds. It is such a pity we can find this bread only once a year.
In every town there are open air festivals for the flying of the kites, - where everyone is served fasolada, baked butter beans, lagána bread and taramosaláta. Taramosaláta is a cod roe spread made with the roe, bread crumbs, olive oil, and lemon. It is not fishy at all; it tastes rather like mayonnaise with shrimps. White taramá is the best quality cod “caviar” but red taramá, a mixture of roes, will work fine.
For 2 loaves:
600gr (2,5 cups) lukewarm water
2 envelopes dry yeast (16gr total)
Sesame to sprinkle
In a bowl, mix water, yeast, sugar and 1 cup of flour to make a starter. Let it develop bubbles on the surface, about 1 hour.
Add the rest of the flour and the salt to the bowl with the yeast mixture and knead enough to get a smooth and elastic dough. Divide the dough into two equal loaves. Place two pieces of baking paper (the size of your baking pans) on the working area. With a rolling pin flatten each piece of dough into an oval 1cm thick. With the help of the baking paper transfer the two loaves onto the baking trays and leave the two lagána loaves to rise. Cover with a kitchen towel to prevent the surface from drying.
When the loaves have risen, about an hour, press the dough with your fingertips to make small indentations all over the surface and sprinkle with sesame. Bake in preheated oven at 200C for 30-40min until golden brown.
200gr yesterday’s bread without the crust
70gr taramá (preferably white cod roe)
1 small onion chopped
300gr (1/2cup) olive oil or vegetable oil
4tbsp lemon juice
Soak bread for a few minutes in a bowl with enough water to cover it.
Press the bread between your palms to discard all the excess water. In a bowl mix the ingredients with the bread. Then, in a food processor pulse the taramosalata, (in batches if needed) for a few seconds until you get a smooth but firm spread.
Serve with lagána bread.
|White tarama from Iceland|