Making bottarga: truly stinky business

Alright, so after one of the sous chefs at oliveto showed me a fish roe sack that he was curing into the Italian delicacy Bottarga, I’ve been itching to get my hands on some raw fish roe sacks.  There is a great pleasure that I get out of waiting day after day for a salami that I made to dry, olives to cure, or fruit on my trees to ripen.  The only daily counting you really ever do with any fish products is the “Ou! yea can I get one more day out of this?” count.  For that reason salting some fish eggs and letting them dry for a month or longer sounds really intriguing!  Being spawning season for bass I was able to get a hold of some local sea bass sacks p_00122 Yumo! (Yeah I said it YUMO!)  No really they are not at all appetizing and in their raw form are wonderful for warding off servers and pastry girls!  Anyways the only recipe that I could find for this fishy delicacy was here, it seems simple enough so I’m following it.  I soaked them in brine for a night then dried them off and coated them with olive oil and then salt.  I placed them on a wire rack covered with a napkin and put them in the walk-in over night.  The next day they had lost a decent amount of moisture so I recovered them in salt and, being that the chef was off the next day, left them out in dry storage at room temperature as the recipe says to do.  If your wondering, they STANK!  I assure you, they are not ready to be at room temperature after the second or third day. Anyways its been about five days with the salt and they are fairly firm so I’m gonna give them two more since they are fairly big and then clean them off and start waiting.  They are already fairly firm and have lost about a third of their weight. p_00128 I’ll be sure to post their progress and of course, when they are done drying, the immanent culinary disasters that I create with them! If you have any feedback, past experience, or recipes please comment!  Oh and by the way this shit sells for eighty dollars a pound on some food sites where its made out of mullet roe!


7 Responses to “Making bottarga: truly stinky business”

  1. April 13, 2009 at 4:43 am

    I was fortunate enough to get the mullet roe bottarga for my bday a few weeks ago. The best recipe so far has been cooking some pasta, chopping up bottarga, and throwing it into pasta w/ some of its water (i also added a fresh raw egg yolk) – great brininess, reminscent of uni, but even better.

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