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« Syringed Fritters, Nun's Farts and Churros | Main | Butter, lard and breakfast »

November 03, 2007

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Silverbrow

Another great recipe for it is thinly shaved over avocado, with dill. Top-off with a dressing of lemon and the best olive oil you can get your hands on. I first read of the recipe in one of the Moro cookbooks and it's great in the summer with one of those aforementioned beers.

Adam Balic

That sounds like a great combination. I spent some time around Cadiz, the local botargo produced there would be perfect for this.

Ira

I live in Florida and net my own mullet. I have been searching for a recipe to make homemade bottarga for what seems like forever. THANK YOU for the recipe. If you have any additional info on making bottarga I would love to have it

Adam Balic

Glad to be of use Ira. It really is a very simple process, the only thing to be careful of is flys (hence wrapping it in paper) and morning dew (which is why I bring it inside at night).

Elizabeth

Extremely interesting report--I appreciate the photographs of the fresh and dried roe, especially. I had no idea botarga is popular in Spain; this suggests yet another instance in which the culinary traditions of Sardegna and Spain merge.

Adam Balic

Salt cured mullet roe is an ancient product, so it occurs in many locations. Another similar product is salted and preserved tuna loin. This is known as Mojama in Spain, Mosicame/Musciame in Sicily and Musciame/Mosciamme in Liguria, Tuscany, Corsica and Sardinia. Alan Davidson indicates that the latter product was also made from the Dolphin (the mammal, not the fish). I have seen one description of the origin of "Mojama" as the Arabic "al mushama" ("preserved/waxed"), potentially it is also the origin of Musciame/Mosciamme et al.

Judith Klinger

You say botargo
I say bortaga.
Why the difference? Italian v. Spanish v. Scottish v. Australian??

If you ever have the opportunity to line up a bunch of different botargas, the flavor difference is simply astounding. It's like saying, "I like wine."
To me: Sardinian is the mildest, Sicilian like to use tuna and too much salt, and the get it just about perfect in Campania.
I never thought to actually try it myself, but you make it sound doable. Now, all I have to do is wait until summer.
Happy New Year to you!

Adam Balic

Hi Judith, Happy New Year to you.

Botargo, bottarga, botargo and buttarga are all Italian variations on the spelling, these are thought to be based on Arabic and this in turn goes back further to Greek or Coptic. I've stuck with Botargo as many of the historical English texts uses this spelling (although some substitute B for P like the modern Portuguese "poutargue or boutargue").

I've tasted quite a bit now, but not side by side. I have noticed variation in flavour from site to site, but also between different sized roes. The are about 7 species of mullet in the Med. region and as they are found in a huge range of salt to brackish waters (even salt water lakes) and are filter feeders, there is likely to be a huge range in flavour variation. The exact cure used will also effect the final flavour.

As you can see it is very easy to make you own. When the weather cools I am going to make an attempt at salt cure tuna as well.

Larry Konis

I grew up watching my father and his friends slice this with their pocket knives while drinking Ouzo. The first time I had it, I knew it was special and loved it. I called the Greek market where they used to carry it, and was told it was now very hip to eat, so they can't afford it.

Gianfranco

In Sardinia it is called 'bottarga' and not salty at all. In fact I had no idea it was done with salt. I have never tasted any bottarga from other countries or other Italian regions, but I would say that having it prepared with very little salt probably preserves the delicate flavor of the fish roe. For this reason it is best preserve it by drying rather than salting in excess. Great for pasta dishes or just sliced on bread with some olive oil.

PUA

Wow.. mediterrean food is absolutely amazing. I haven't been in years but i am so aching to go back.

makis

Botargo is also produced in Greece and has a terrific taste. Botargo producing in Greece and specifically in Messologi, is mentioned by travellers in the 17th century.
Simply delicious !
Best as is with olive oil and a splash of lemon juice or in pasta...

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