Bottarga is a typical Italian ingredient, but can be found on the whole Mediterranean coast, including Greece, Spain, Morocco, France. Basically, it’s fish eggs that have been carefully removed from the female fish, salted, pressed and dried for about 6 months. There are two kinds of bottarga available in Italy: bottarga di tonno (tuna roe) which comes mainly from Sicily; and bottarga di muggine (mullet roe) that is one of Sardinia’s most prized products. I try hard not to eat tuna, because I don’t want to be part of its steady decline, so I bought bottarga di muggine the last time I was in Sardinia.
Bottarga also called the Mediterranean Caviar, and for good reason.
Like parmesan, prosciutto and soy sauce, bottarga is rich of umami, otherwise known as “the fifth taste”. Bottarga is earthy, smooth, every single fish egg crunchy and salty in a way that doesn’t make you reach for water but another spoonful.
You can have it on a bruschetta, or simply sliced and dressed with olive oil and lemon. Or, of course, on pasta. Which is how I like it. Because you know, I’m a declared pastivore.
Here’s how you can eat a plateful of pure Italian umami.
Et voila! Are you ready to eat like a roman emperor?