Bottarga is a typical dish originally from the island of Sardinia*, extremely popular also in the rest of Italy and now worldwide thanks to the spreads of good Italian food and restaurants all over the globe.
Bottarga: how to eat it and wines to match
Bottarga is a fish product unlike any other; it has a strong flavor and is sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean caviar. This delicacy is made from mullet or tuna eggs that have been dried and salted.
Bottarga di Tonno (Tuna)
Is the least valuable of the two, with a tint that ranges from pale pink to brownish. It has a lot stronger taste and a much firmer texture than mullet bottarga. Sardinia, Sicily and Calabria are the leading producers of tuna bottarga.
Bottarga di Muggine (Mullet)
Is the most valuable and costly, with an amber-golden tint. It has a flavor that is both powerful and subtle. Simply examine the color and texture of mullet bottarga to determine its quality. The hue must be uniform and the consistency must be compact. Bottarga from mullet is unquestionably the most sought after. Sardinia, Campania, and Tuscany are the primary producers.
Best way to eat it
Grated is the most common and well-known way to consume it. Many people, however, prefer to eat it by slicing it into extremely thin slices, seasoning it with simply extra virgin olive oil, and serving it with croutons or, better still, carasau (the typical Sardinian bread).
Bottarga is a versatile ingredient that can be used to enhance fish-based recipes or eaten on its own. It’s great for enhancing appetizers (like fish carpaccio and seafood salads), first courses (like risotto with cuttlefish ink, spaghetti with seafood, and so on), and second courses (as an accompaniment to red mullet, prawns, etc.).
Bottarga is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Spaghetti with bottarga is one of the most famous and well-known dishes.
Generally the pasta can be spaghetti or linguini and they can be made in a very short amount of time, just the time it takes to cook the pasta. The pasta can also be topped with other various ingredients.
In today’s recipe, we topped them with a little bit of grated lemon zest, which amplified the mullet roe flavor and added a fresh note to the dish. If you’ve ever had this fantastic dish, perhaps at a restaurant, why not recreate it at home and surprise your visitors in a few simple steps?
Recipe for 4 people
- 300 grams of spaghetti
- 60 gr of mullet bottarga
- 1 clove of garlic
- chili pepper
- extravirgin olive oil
- grated lemon zest
Preparation time: 5 min
Cooking time: 10 min
- In a large pot with lots of salted water, cook the pasta.
- Fry the garlic and chilli in a pan with the oil and basil.
- Drain the al dente pasta and add it to the pan.
- Now add the bottarga and the grated lemon peel and mix.
- Your spaghetti with bottarga are ready to be brought to the table.
The extended drying and salting procedure gives bottarga its distinctive flavor. A procedure that dates back to antiquity and is capable of making this product one-of-a-kind.
A wine with softness and roundness on the palate, as well as good acidity and taste, is required for a dish with such robust characteristics, in order to balance the greasiness of the dish and replace it with mild freshness.
Vermentino di Sardegna is a full-bodied white wine that pairs beautifully with bottarga, increasing its aroma and fragrance.
With its powerful, fresh, fruity flowery perfume and long-lasting flavor, this white wine leaves a distinctive bitter vein on the finish, which is ideal for amplifying the aromas of this bottarga-based meal while also lightly complementing the sweet component of some pasta.
A Brut sparkling wine, it’s also a great match for creamy and delectable fish dishes like spaghetti with bottarga, where it blends in nicely and adds freshness and effervescence.
*It is now also produced in some other areas of the Italian peninsula: Sicily, Tuscany and Calabria.