Everybody enjoys a glass of wine after a hard days’ work. Now, imagine pairing it up with a slice of bread, drizzled with olive oil and thinly sliced Bottarga?
Bottarga is the "Mediterranean caviar." It might be new to you, and the question that might pop is," What does Bottarga taste like?"
Bottarga has flavored the Mediterranean, Asian and European cuisines for centuries. From thinly slicing the Bottarga to finely grating it over dishes like risottos and pasta.
People have come to love it not only for its taste but its versatility.
What is Bottarga?
Curing and preserving food is a tradition followed all over the world for centuries.
Now, Bottarga is the culmination of this tradition. Bottarga is the cured and salted fish roe.
The process starts with carefully removing the egg pouch of the fish. The typically used fish consist of grey mullet or bluefin tuna.
The fish used differs according to the area or region. The eggs are then carefully massaged to remove any air pocket inside.
It is then salted and pressed to its shape. The final step involves air-drying the salted fish roe.
The result of all the drying and curing intensifies the flavor of the fish roe.
The Italian word for these cured fish roes is Bottarga. The term is widely used in other parts too.
However, it goes by different names around the world. The Japanese call it Karasumi, while in Arabic it is Battarikh.
What Does Bottarga Taste Like? Does Bottarga Taste Good?
You need to have an acquired palate to like Bottarga. The amber flakes of the Bottarga release the best aroma of the seawater.
You can compare it to the taste of the saltiness of parmesan cheese. Some see it as a truffle.
At the same time, it has the deep flavor of umami like Caviar and sea urchin. Thus, it is known as "the caviar for poor man."
If you like dried anchovies, you will love Bottarga. It shares the same taste, the only difference being the texture. Bottarga has a smooth texture that melts instantly.
The taste Chart of Bottarga
The culinary gem gets its unique flavor by considering a lot of factors. These include the type of fish used and the salinity level. Some of the different kinds of Bottarga include:
- The Bottarga made from tuna roe has a more robust dried fish flavor. Plus, it is much saltier.
- The mullet roe is less salty and has the fishiness level similar to caviar and Uni.
- In Japan and China, the drying process of the Karasumi is shorter. The short drying process gives it a softer texture than Italian Bottarga.
How to Cook Bottarga
Now, we all know what Bottarga is. Let us go to the next step and learn how to use Bottarga the right way. All you got to do is follow the below steps:
The best way to taste the flavor of Bottarga is by having it raw. It can’t get as simple as slicing it thinly and enjoying it with a glass of alcohol. Plus, a squeeze of lemon juice over the cured roe brings out more flavors.
Bottarga is best in the form of a garnish. It is an excellent replacement for cheese or a truffle. Thus, it works wonders in any pasta recipe like Spaghetti with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto.
If you like grain or rice-based dishes like risotto, Bottarga will definitely work. The grated salty flavor goes great with the starchiness of the rice. Saffron Risotto with Mussels and Bottarga is a match made in heaven.
Bottarga makes an excellent appetizer for any lunch or dinner party. Simply grate or slice it over a piece of buttered bread.
Following a healthy diet, you can grate the Bottarga over any salad. It is the perfect seasoning over a bowl of fresh salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, and olive oil drizzled over it.
Caution – High consumption of Bottarga can cause water retention in the body. It might increase the risk of hypertension and Edema. Thus, consume small doses of it.
According to the LA Times, Bottarga brings the flavor of the ocean to the plate.
The age-old delicacy has taken over the world’s top restaurants. All because of rich umami, savory and salty taste.
The pressed and cured eggs of tuna and grey mullet are especially popular in Italy’s coastal area.
The salty and dense flavored Bottarga is either thinly sliced or grated. The reason being the roe should instantly melt in contact with the tongue.
The best thing about Bottarga is the tiniest amount can take your dish to new heights in terms of taste and flavor.