Bottarga a.k.a. poor man’s caviar

Growing up with my parents meant lots of adventures in the kitchen. From eating sea urchin fresh out of the sea to eating shark and bottarga. You might be wondering what bottarga is. Bottarga is often called the poor man’s caviar. It is made with the eggs from tuna, grey mullet or swordfish. To make this they massage the egg pouch till all the air pockets disappear. Then it is dried and preserved in sea salt which leads it to harden into a log shaped object.

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When growing up my mother use to just snack on it, I on the other hand had difficulty eating big chunks the way she did due to its super intense flavour. Bottarga has a very salty and fishy flavour, and when I say fishy and intense I mean it! Recently however I found bottarga at a fish market and decided I should give it snother try. My mother had after all never steered me wrong before (at least not in the kitchen).

I decided to make a simple pasta with it and used a cheese grater to grate it into little pieces on top of the pasta, thus making the flavour a bit more subtle. After giving it another chance I definitely changed my opinion and am looking forward to experimenting with it more. Here is the recipe I used:

Ingredients:

  • Spaghetti
  • Olive Oil
  • Onion (chopped)
  • Tomatoes (wedged)
  • Shii-take (cut)
  • Bottarga (grated + slices to garnish)
  • Parsley

Method:

  1. In a pan heat up some olive oil. Add the onions till they are translucent.
  2. Start boiling your water and cooking the spaghetti.
  3. Add the shii-take mushrooms and the tomatoes.
  4. When the tomatoes are sautéed, add some chopped parsley and grated bottarga to the pan. Add bottarga to taste depending on how intense you want it to be. If you feel like your pasta is still a bit dry don’t hesitate to add some more olive oil at this point.
  5. When the pasta is done mix the pasta with the sauce. Plate and garnish with some parsley and either grated or sliced bottarga.

bottarga

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