I’ve come quite late to bottarga but this is the most incredible ingredient. How to describe it? It is compressed cured smoked fish roe from tuna or grey mullet, which sounds kind of yucky but in reality is instant umami flavour. Grey mullet is the most expensive. I bought it for the first time in Istanbul, encased in beeswax, where it was cheap. In the UK it’s pricey. Here is a list of places you can buy it:
- The Fish Society: 90g is £15.50p plus postage £10
- On Amazon: 90g is £19.50p plus £3.99 postage
- Delicatezza: 100g is £9.99 plus £6.95 outside and free in London with £20 minimum order. (I’ve also used these guys for their fantastic burrata). So this is probably the best deal.
- Waitrose sometimes has it ready grated in jars, but it probably isn’t as good.
Basically, you need to find a bottarga dealer. I was talking with Anglo Italian chef Joe Hurd about where to score it: he has his own personal bottarga bloke who can be persuaded to fish lumps of it out of his backpack with the help of a few glasses of vino.
I have several versions of this super simple recipe. it’s as easy as opening a jar of pesto: grate or thinly slice it on your pasta and it’s done.
Spaghetti with grated bottarga, butter, parsley, black pepper and lemon juice
Spaghetti with sliced bottarga, lemon zest, chilli and pea shoots
Spaghetti with grated bottarga, lemon zest, broccoli, almonds, garlic
1 head of broccoli, split into florets
1 clove garlic, grated
50g slithered almonds
Put a colander over the pasta saucepan with the broccoli florets inside. This will steam them.
At the same time, have another pan on the go, to briefly fry the broccoli, almonds, garlic.
Strain the broccoli florets after five minutes of steaming and fry it in a little olive oil in the other pan, adding the garlic and almonds.
Add the broccoli, garlic, almond mixture into the pasta.