Have you tried Bottarga? It is the Italian name for a delicacy of salted, cured fish roe, (usually grey mullet). In French it is known as Boutargue. This tasty delicacy is popular in many regions and cuisines around the Mediterranean coastline also many other regions of the world particularly Asia. Sometimes called Mediterranean caviar, Boutargue or Bottarga is usually sliced thinly or grated when served. There are also variations particularly from tuna (bottarga di tonno) which are popular in Italy.
How Bottarga Is Made
This delicacy would have originally been the creation of fishermen looking to make the most of every part of the fish they catch. To keep the delicate roe they would have used salt as a preservative. The process is still very similar today. First the roe pouch of the Grey Mullet is massaged by hand to remove any air trapped inside. The pouches are then cured in sea salt for a few weeks. For the next stage they are rinsed and set to dry. The exact times and techniques change according to regional preferences local recipes and climate. Typically the result is a intensely flavoured firm block of the cured eggs, Sometimes it is coated in beeswax for enhanced preservation.
Due to the rather time consuming process of manufacture and its particular flavours Boutargue or Bottarga has become over time a refined delicacy, hard to find and traditionally given as a valuable gift.
Cooking with Bottarga
The finished product make an amazing ingredient. The thin slices have a distinctive savoury ocean taste that are delicious served on a warm bruschetta slice. It is also delicious grated over some plain pasta or added to a fresh fish dish for some punchy flavour contrast. Try infusing it in some extra virgin olive oil to make an excellent dressing.
The boutargue you will find on our counter is a natural product without preservatives, additive or colorants, only salt from the curing process. It can be stored 6 months if kept in a dry or cool place. We source from a specialist producer in France, you can visit their website here http://www.boutargue-memmi.com