Black & White Fish Roe Spread with Fougasse (Lagana)

The menu on Clean Monday stays more or less the same every year with fish roe spread (taramosalata) and traditional Greek flatbread (lagana) being the absolute basics. They are the most popular ones as well!

Clean Monday is nothing like any other national holiday, it’s more like New Year’s Eve! It’s an ending and a new beginning or at least that’s how I feel about this day. It’s the day when you start to slow down, collect yourself, pacify your soul, spirit and body. Delete and restart!

These thoughts become conscious choices throughout the years. When you’re young, Clean Monday means nothing more than flying a kite and that’s completely normal, it would be really strange if it was any other way! But as you grow up, thoughts and needs become much deeper, more important and substantial.

That’s when Lent season starts to have a different, much more personal and special meaning. As the years went by, I started loving this season and waiting for it impatiently, considering it a chance for me to regroup, reevaluate, see things more clearly and start over. Face the future with strength, light and love. Purity and redemption.. Unfortunately our daily lives are just too fast paced and don’t allow us to give ourselves the time for this much needed catharsis.Doesn’t that sound a lot like New Year’s Eve? That’s when we make all these big promises to ourselves, set up new goals and ambitious plans. But this season is different, much deeper than festive lights and New Year’s Eve.

Time to talk about the more practical part of Clean Monday. It’s the day that signals the beginning of Lent Season, precisely 48 days before Easter. Our dietary habits change in a very beneficial way regardless of whether we choose to fast for religious or health reasons. Either way, the benefits of fasting are confirmed and commonly accepted.



The menu on Clean Monday stays more or less the same every year with fish roe spread (taramosalata) and traditional Greek flatbread (lagana) being the absolute basics. They are the most popular ones as well! Fish roe spread is a serious task with many hidden secrets. On a day like this, we all try to master the recipe and make the perfect “tarama”. It’s one of the most delicious dishes and unfortunately, one of the most fattening too! Only if you make your own fish row spread you’ll understand how much oil it contains. There's 500-600ml of olive oil in every 150g of fish roe spread! Luckily, this super tasty mayo-like spread doesn’t appear on our tables very often. On top of all that, it’s impossible to enjoy fish roe spread without bread which only makes the situation even more crucial! Tarama and lagana are the protagonists of the day and go hand in hand but the menu wouldn’t be complete without a variety of seafood of every kind too; scallops, oysters and more.. And of course, legumes! Greek white beans (piaz beans) are also included in the list of the day’s must-haves, as well as fava, the classic bean soup and many vegetables. Let’s not forget it’s springtime and greens are in abundance!

Today I’m making my own fish roe spread. Well, the recipe is not exactly mine but somehow became mine throughout the years. Such a well-kept secret that was generously handed to me. For years, whenever I tried this particular tarama, I wondered why it tastes so great. Does it have bread, and how much? It turned out things were not as complicated as I had expected. It had no bread at all! I must confess each time I make fish roe spread, I tend to cheat.. I just can’t add so much oil! But still, my tarama is truly delicious!


As for my flatbread, I chose to make something different and fun today. I’m making fougasse, a beautiful French flatbread that I absolutely love (the recipe is taken from Richard Bertinet’s book, “Dough”) but you can easily make the same cuts on lagana dough as well. You might be thinking, why a French flatbread? What’s wrong with our very own lagana? And obviously there’s nothing wrong with lagana, it’s delicious! I just wanted to play around with something different and fougasse’s crunchiness is perfect for my fish roe spread which, by the way, is going to be black & white!!


Fish roe spread:

150gr fish roe

500-600ml corn oil

Juice from 1 lemon or more if you wish

100ml water

1 small onion, chopped

2tbsp sepia



500g hard flour

10g fresh yeast

10g salt

350-400ml water


Fish roe spread:

1. Add fish roe and a bit of oil in a blender and start mixing. Gradually add the rest of the oil in turn with the lemon juice and water. In between, add the onion. Continue the alternations until you’ve used all the ingredients and your mixture looks like mayonnaise.

2. Split your spread in two. Keep half of it separately and add sepia to the other half so that it looks almost black.

3. Serve your black & white spreads with bread, grilled pita or any kind of bread stick.


1. In a bowl add the flour and fresh yeast. Start working with your hands and mix the yeast with the flour. Add salt and water slowly. Keep kneading until the ingredients are mixed well. If necessary, add extra water. Your dough will be quite sticky but don’t worry about it, it’s normal.

2. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a clean surface. I know, it’s sticky, but our chef insists on making his dough soft and workable without the use of extra flour and traps air within it. It’s a little bit tricky but the dough turns out truly amazing. You can watch the whole process on youtube, fougasse. It’s totally worth it. When your dough is smooth, soft and non-sticky, it’s ready. Place it in a bowl without flour, cover it and let it rest.

3. Place a baking sheet into a preheated 230C oven. Pour flour on your work surface and place your dough on it. Make sure it’s covered in flour and open it with your hands. Cut it in four even parts. Open the first one and stretch it with your hands. Place it on a baking paper so that you can easily transfer it to the hot baking sheet. Cut through the dough as you see in the pictures and pour flour. Open the slits with your hands to make sure they’ll remain open while baking. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until they turn golden.