bottarga 201

November 8th, 2007 · 13 Comments

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ok class.  after a brief hiatus we return with more ‘fun with bottarga’.  only this time, armed with our knowledge from the last course we are going to use the right kind of fish roe.  ok?  so did everyone bring their dried mullet sac with them?  good.  let us proceed. for those of you that read along you may recall my last stint with bottarga.  it was not a raging success to say the least.  i generously referred to that dish as ‘nice’ but even a lame description such as that was a total stretch.  quite honestly the whole experience left me somewhat confused as to  a) why anyone would want to pay $75 for a hunk of dried out cat food and  b) why anyone would want to eat dried out cat food at any price.  so i called market hall foods - bottarga supplier to the stars – to discuss the quandary and they were kind enough to ship me the mullet bottarga to replace the tuna bottarga in question.  and so my best bottarga buddies, from here on in to be referred to as ‘b3′, once again crossed the county line, showing up with a loaf of bread, a lemon, some parsley and a fine bottle of red – ready for whatever fate the bottarga gods had in store for us. first my b3 grated the bottarga and we added some australian olive oil – a 2006 yellingbo to the bowl. 

the roe absorbed most of the oil which deepened the color considerably.  note: reserve some bottarga and parsley for plating.

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to the pan i added the oil saturated bottarga, fresh lemon juice, minced garlic and parsley.  nothing else.  the bottarga has a perfect salt balance on it’s own and the salted pasta water flavored the de cecco #7 linguini.  the bottarga was warmed gently, not cooked.  the drained pasta was then added to the pan and tossed with the bottarga.

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as luck would have it, the bottarga gods smiled upon us that night.  i really loved this dish.  fishy, but rich – with depth.  the brightness of the lemon and hint of garlic were perfect against the roe.  and the quality of the oil melded these flavors into a winning combination.  now i get the whole bottarga hype.

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and as an aside, i find pasta to be extremely photogenic. 

anyone else? 

Tags: fish · pasta · seafood

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 newscoma // Nov 9, 2007 at 7:42 am

    It looks beautiful.

  • 2 Robert // Nov 9, 2007 at 8:26 am

    Its Art.
    I can smell it from here, great job, although my cat does take offense.

  • 3 Jennifer Hess // Nov 9, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Beautiful. The only time I’ve had bottarga was on top of crostini at this little place owned by a Sardinian couple in Brooklyn. It was divine, but I haven’t attempted to cook with it at home. I have to say I’m inspired now…

  • 4 melissa // Nov 9, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    well, I guess I can say I learned something new today. before popping by, I had no idea what bottarga was. :)

    and I do find pasta to be very photogenic. it really makes for the easiest pictures for me to take.

  • 5 Dana // Nov 9, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    I’ve never tried to cook with bottarga at home — but this recipe might inspire me to do so!

  • 6 FireDog // Nov 9, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    I have my dried mullet sac and I am present but the cat is having a tizzy!
    This really is a beautiful photogenic dish. A nice combination of color, textures and tastes. I’m glad this version came out so well.
    Bottarga!

  • 7 Lesley // Nov 9, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    This is exactly the kind of dish that gets vegetarians in trouble. It looks so innocent and good. :)

  • 8 claudia // Nov 9, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    thanks everyone. i can’t tell you how much i loved this dish. i thought it was world class. thanks to the bottarga – not me…

  • 9 tanminivan // Nov 10, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Claudia generously shared her last bit of leftover bottarga with me a couple of days ago. When she handed me the the carefully wrapped little foil pack, I felt like it might be an illegal substance. Anyway, went home and made some regular spaghetti. Gently cooked some smashed cloves of garlic (don’t let it brown) in a large skillet with a generous amount of olive oil. Took the garlic out and minced it. Added the grated bottarga, the zest of one lemon, a good handful of chopped Italian parsley and the garlic. Tossed it all with the hot pasta and served lemon wedges on the side. We ate immediately–all of us even the kids liked it. The bottarga reminded us of country ham–pow and the flavor explodes in your mouth. It’s that intense, salty, richness that only preserved foods can give to a dish. Every culture seems to have one and rely on it for flavor. In Sicily it’s bottarga, in Tennessee, it’s country ham. The bottarga really didn’t taste fishy to us, just big and delicate at the same time. Thank you Claudia. We never would have had it without your curiosity.

  • 10 clumsy // Nov 16, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Looks delicious. I’m so intrigued by bottarga now!!

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