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Jim Dixon

Bottarga

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I mentioned bottarga over on the Pacific NW board and Blue Heron asked me to expound...

Bottarga is the Italian name for dried, pressed fish roe...gray mullet in Sardinia, tuna in Sicily. It's my experience that the tuna is more common.

You can buy it pre-grated in small glass jars or by the chunk, which is how I prefer it.

The classic Sicilian dish is spaghetti with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, parlsey, and bottarga. It's also sometimes shaved thin, macerated in olive oil or lemon juice or both, and served as an antipasto.

I like to add it to things that I might have added anchovy to for the subtle depth of flavor, except that bottarga is never quite so subtle. Most recently, I made a salsa verde with things from my garden...lemon mint & spring garlic...and some Meyer lemon zest, juice, olive oil, and bottarga. I've also added it to more traditional salsa verde (basil, parsley, garlic, etc). A little goes a long way.

I have several pieces in the refrigerator. I wrap it tightly and it seems to keep forever. One of the older pieces is getting crumbly and more dried out, but that just makes it easier to break up.

Recipes usually call for grating, but I've never found that to work well...there's often a membrane in the roe sack that resists grating, so I slice thin pieces and chop them up.

You can buy the chunk form at Esperya , and probably the jars at good better food shops. It's expensive, even in Italy. I bought a piece the size of a pack of cigarettes for about $10 last fall. I tucked it into my hip pocket coming through Customs, not sure of whether I could get it in legally, and realized after I got by that the plastic and tape wrapped piece of brown stuff probably looked just like plastic explosives (and this was in November).

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Jim, thank you so much for the detailed description of bottarga.   It sounds like a great little thing to have on hand.   I bet it would be delicious on spaghetti and your salsa verde, or maybe your bottarga salsa on bruschetta...yum.

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I keep mine in the freezer. I also find it easier to slice it thinly and then chop and crumble. One of my favourite uses for it is on roughly mashed potatoes with cream and butter.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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damn, that sounds awlfully good Jinmyo. I'll be on the lookout for bottarga now.

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I once ate at a little restaurant in Verona and had a pasta dish sprinkled with Bottarga.  The flavor was amazing and unidentificable.  Because of the language barrier, the waitress couldn't explain what it was.  Thanks.  I highly recomend this to anyone.

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The NY Times Dining section has an article online on bottarga by David Pasternack of Esca,

Clickety.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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The mullet (mugine) bottarga I have bought from esperya.com is of superb quality...the taste is clearer and less bitter than mullet bottarga I have bought in Borough Market or persuaded my local Italian shop (which for awhile referred to me as "signor Bottarga" because of my repeated requests for this product) to stock.

Bottarga is turning up on chichi restaurant menus, but there are a few Sardinian restaurants that have offered it for years. In London, Olivo on Eccleston street made a mean spaghetti alla bottarga...but it's been a couple of years since my last visit.


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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Last night I ate Bottarga with white beans in a local trattoria (in Florence). Quite good, although it needed olive oil added, otherwise it was a little too much like fish food in texture.

The Bottarga I originally ate was made from the Golden Grey Mullet, which is a tupe of Grey Mullet found in some parts of the Med. I have also eaten the tuna version and made a version myself from Cod roe. Is Bottarga from a specific fish or is it a word to describe a preperation of dried, salted fish roe?

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Bottarga was part of an appropriately severely-criticized tuna appetizer at Union Square Cafe:

eGulleteers tapped another $20.02 lunch today -- at Union Square Cafe. Participants: jaybee, Wilfrid, lxt, ahr, SobaAddict70, yvonne johnson, and, for coffee/hanging out at the end, Steve P and Nina W.  :laugh: The following were the $20.02 offerings . . . .

Yellowfin Tuna Confit with Shaved Bottarga, New Potatoes, Celery and Radish Salad . . . .

The food was disappointing overall.  :sad: The yellowfin tuna appetizer was poor-to-very-poor, with the tuna not being flavorful and, as jaybee and ahr were discussing, having texture and tasting as though it were from a can (Bumble Bee brand, jaybee advised  :laugh:). There were no indications of why the tuna was described as being of a confit preparation, as the flakes seemed "normal". Furthermore, there was nothing special about the saucing. Wilfrid thought too much balsamic vinegar had been included; I considered the amount appropriate for my tastes. (Of course, the dish overall was still poor.) The bottarga was slightly interesting for me, as it was only the second time I had sampled this item.  Wilfrid did well ordering a white Rioja for the group.

I recently noticed bottarga on another menu, although I cannot recollect the precise restaurant (Bid? Gramercy Tavern?). :wink:

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Is Bottarga from a specific fish or is it a word to describe a preperation of dried, salted fish roe?

A word to describe a preperation of dried, salted fish roe.

I've used it in cucumber maki as well. Quite fun. But one has to use a mandoline. Even a truffle slicer makes it break up too much.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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It is so great to hear all the excitement about such a wonderful product! When I worked at Dean & Deluca in St. Helena, I could not sell any of it. I even tried to discount it and beg customers to just give it a try. To all who have not tried it, please be cautious with the first dose, but enjoy :biggrin: !

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