A closeup of Bottarga on a wooden table.
What Is Bottarga And How Do You Cook With It?
At first glance, bottarga could be mistaken for a sausage or a block of foie gras, but they are the roe sacks from fish that are salted, pressed to remove any air, and dried.
Most bottarga comes from grey mullet, but it can also be extracted from halibut, tuna, and several other fish. Once it’s dried, it can last for months without going bad or rancid.
Sometimes, bottarga is referred to as “poor man's caviar,” and it’s mostly used as a finishing ingredient, being finely grated over savory foods to give them a salty kick.
For instance, a fine grating of bottarga is superb on pasta dishes, over soft-boiled and soft-scrambled eggs, and on top of risotto.
Thinly sliced, it's wonderful on top of crostini and on salad. Shower it on top of fried rice or garnish sushi, and place some on top of Danish smørrebrød.
In many parts of Europe and the Middle East, it’s sliced very thinly, dressed in fresh olive oil, lemon juice, and maybe a bit of garlic, and eaten as-is or atop a piece of bread.
It's a culinary gem that's meant to be savored. However you use it, make sure nothing overpowers the flavor of this special treat.