Bottarga, a traditional delicacy of both Sicily and Sardinia, is the salted, pressed and dried roe pouch of tuna. Sometimes called "poor man's caviar," tuna bottarga is intense, very aromatic and full of sea flavors, a treat for true seafood lovers. If milder ocean flavor is what you seek, try mullet bottarga.
To make bottarga, the roe sack is removed whole from the fish, packed under sea salt to draw out moisture, gently pressed under boards and then hung to dry for several days. This ancient curing process preserves the roe and ages it much like a fine prosciutto!
Try hot fettuccine doused with garlic-infused olive oil, red pepper flakes and grated tuna bottarga. Or shave the bottarga paper thin, sprinkle with a zesty Sicilian olive oil and serve as an antipasto. For authentic Sicilian flavor, grate tuna bottarga over pasta with seafood sauce or sprinkle slices over fresh tomatoes or grilled vegetables.
How to store leftover bottarga: Rub down the cake with good quality olive oil, wrap it first in plastic and then in foil and store it in the refrigerator. Rubbed once a week with olive oil, it should keep for at least three months.
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