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Bottarga Pasta

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A dried Mediterranean caviar used by French and Italian chefs to flavor pasta or risotto, boutargue/botarga/botargo is a rare and expensive delicacy.

How come mulets do not reproduce and yet they are always there? Their secret are mulets eggs. And I showed my guests my poutargue. 'Ah but these are two different animals', they say. Both mullet and mule are called mulet in French. Yes, the mullet is a fish, and its eggs - are wrapped in small sausages, salted and dried.

They come in a wax coating and cost less than caviar but still CHF 200 a kilogram. In Italy, it is called bottarga and is much favored in Sardegna.

The wax is not eaten. They obviously put a huge amount of wax to reduce the overall cost. When buying, the shopkeeper weighs the entire sausage. At 140 a kilogram it must be most expensive wax on earth.

The somewhat obscene shape of the sausage has vivid colors. You can remove the soft sausage-lik eskin too.

Inside it's a stack of fish eggs. The smell reminds you of a fishing port in the morning - a heavy rotten fish odor. If you don't love fish, this is not for you. Slice thinly or grate finely.

My sardinian recipe called for a mix of 100 gr grated bottarga with 1 dl olive oil.

The oil-bottarga mixture is heated gently ...

... then added to the pasta. Some recipes call for lemon juice, garlic, parsley or the substitution of oil with butter. Sardinians don't use butter.

Published 13/02/2007
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19 Comments

  • #1
  • Comment by Craig
  • on: 26/02/2007
I have thousands of these mullets in August to november with a lb. of
roe in in each. The locals are selling to Japan. Our mulletare up to 6
lbs.your reply on this as a rescourse.                    Craig
  • #2
  • Comment by Tabo
  • on: 13/03/2007
Do you sell bottarga? If so how much per pound? And shipping to Arizona? Thanks, Tabo
  • #3
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 13/03/2007
You can order bottarga in the US at $100 a box from www.bottarga.net shipping included.
  • #4
  • Comment by sarah daragh
  • on: 06/06/2007
I have a lot of shad roe this time of year and have heard of  some chefs  making bottarga with it with good results. Any sort of recipe for this available?
  • #5
  • Comment by luca
  • on: 09/08/2007
Great one, I am Sardinian and I do things differently - I do indeed use butter, and chilli and parsley.
  • #6
  • Comment by Ana Gabriela
  • on: 09/10/2007
I have been reading your blog for sometime and I love your recipes! I tried this one last night and it came out superb. I used a homemade garlic infused oil instead though... Anyhow, thank you for your brilliant culinary imagination. Can't wait for your next article!
  • #7
  • Comment by Jeanne L. Warren
  • on: 07/01/2008
Nice site and great pictures! I want to buy some bottarga, but so far, it looks like I have to buy a LOT, and I only want enough to recreate the spectacular pasta that I had in Italy. Suggestions?
  • #8
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 17/01/2008
Bottarga is usually quite cheap if you buy it from the fisherman, but it doesn't keep so well once removed from the protective wax. So you'll have to buy a whole egg sack and just put some more on the dish or turn the rest into a delicious spread. Don't buy processed bottarga.
  • #9
  • Comment by daniel
  • on: 21/07/2008
Your article was great, I sell Memmi bottarga in the US and I placed a link to your article. Available now in the US. Spread the word! anything I can help, contact us.
  • #10
  • Answered by fx
  • on: 25/07/2008
Daniel, thanks for letting us know and good luck with your bottarga sales, it's a wonderful product!
  • #11
  • Comment by alberto
  • on: 03/12/2008
hello,
I'm selling bottarga in all the USA, my bottarga is coming from France.
I sell 150 USD / kg (4 parts of 250g) (shipment is offer for a buying of 1 kg or more).
we can also sell only one piece of 250g for 40 USD each. My bottarga is Casher with a certificate on it.
Let me know if you are interested to my adress: enolco@gmail.com.
P.S. : Sorry for my English.
  • #12
  • Comment by Caya Cagri
  • on: 31/12/2008
Thanks for such an informative article.  I was born in Turkey and my mother was a sephardic Jew.  Her family ate the roe all the time on toast but they called it "abudaraho". Can you tell me where this term comes from?

thanks again!
  • FX's answer→ Caya Cagri, I don't know about the etymology of this term, sorry! But I found Bottarga, under a different name of course, in Japan too.

  • #14
  • Comment by alberto
  • on: 17/06/2009
you can buy bottarga directly on our website:

www.enolco.com

all our bottarga is kosher... and our prices are very interesting...

just go checking...
Hi there, I'm a Sardinian translator and I also work for a local exporter of top-quality bottarga. I'd like to say a word about the "wax" wrapping it, as above. Sardinian bottarga is renowned as the most valuable worldwide, and you should know that NO WAX has ever been used in Sardinia to wrap ORIGINAL bottarga, as roe is naturally provided with a thin film encapsulating it. You'll never come across such tricks in Sardinia or from a serious Sardinian manufacturer/exporter.

Cheers,
Raffaella
  • #16
  • Comment by Kalliopi Pistofidou
  • on: 18/12/2009
12Comment by Caya Cagrion: 31/12/2008
Thanks for such an informative article.  I was born in Turkey and my mother was a sephardic Jew.  Her family ate the roe all the time on toast but they called it "abudaraho". Can you tell me where this term comes from?

Answer: the word "abudaraho" is a misspelling of the word "avgotaraho" which means fish-egg in greek (avgo meaning egg).
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Kalliopi, do you remember what fish those eggs came from?

  • #18
  • Comment by scott
  • on: 03/02/2010
I will have mullet bottarga the end of the week in 50g packages.  I will have tuna bottarga next week.  There is a link to my store in my blog.
the pics looks great.we also provide the bottarga from the original place Sardinia,Italy.bottarga from Cabras.where there is the mullet growing up with mixed the water from sea and river.so it is more finest on taste.please kindly take a look on our website www.westsardinia.net.welcome to contact us.

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