Monday, 10 November 2014

Bottarga Made at Home

Home Made Bottarga from freshly caught fish

Thanks to a sweet friend who gave us flathead fillets, especially the sweet tails.
He also generously gave us some fresh, whole flathead fish roe.
I have been keen to get my hands on some roe to make Bottarga - a salted, preserved fish roe.
This is prevalent in Sardinia and specific Italian coastal communities 
make Bottarga as their own specialty product.

Bottarga is salted, cured fish roe and it is traditionally finely sliced or crumbled onto pasta.
   Try sprinkling some crumbled Bottarga onto Aglio e olio (garlic and oil spaghettini).
  It can also be added over bean or asparagus dishes for an intense addition of flavour.

1.  Gently wash and then place the fish roe sacs into salted water and leave overnight.

2.  Next day:
Drain the fish roe on absorbent paper, blotting dry very gently, you don't want to break the sacs.

3.  Gently coat the sacs in a little olive oil, turning to coat them completely.

4.  Roll in pure coarse sea salt and place on fresh, absorbent paper.

5.  Cover all of the sacs with fine sea salt, making sure they do not touch each other.

Cover with muslin to keep any bugs away.
All you can see is a salt filled bowl.

6.  Check after four days, you may need to change the absorbent paper and add more fine sea salt.
 Here I additionally used an anti-insect cover to protect the bottarga.

On day 7 check the bottarga again to see if paper needs replacing and to ensure they are salt coated.

7.  After fourteen days here is the completed project.
It is cured after ten days but it doesn't hurt to leave it a bit longer.

Remove the bottarga from most of the salt, a little salt will still cling to them.
To store, vacuum seal or place in a glass jar in the fridge or store in freezer for up to one year.
When a piece of bottarga is sliced or ground the rest will lose flavour quickly so use all of the piece.
Try it over pasta and please, tell me what you think of the intense flavour.

Bon appetito, Enjoy Merryn xx