Bottarga ,its fish roe so its nose to tail or near enough

Discussion in 'Nose to Tail' started by moikel, May 13, 2013.

  1. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just lost the whole tutorial I tried to post.[​IMG]  So I  will try again in bits.

     The  first mullet roe of the season.Got a call from market & ran down in my lunch hour. Prices forced up by  "damn yuppies" paid $24kg + bacon .Saw it as high as $40 kg today.
  2. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is thousands of years old as a product across many different countries around the Med or in Asia. Once upon a time preserved then dipped bees wax to keep. If you has enough flour & eggs for pasta you had a meal its

    very high protein.

    Step 1 .Saltwater bath ,clean blood gently out of vein then dry on paper towels.

    The finished product made by restaurants & sold through their online store circa $200 a kg. It dries out a lot & ends up as solid as cheese .You can grate it,shave it or chop it over pasta with clams or similar or over salads of fennel,celery,cucumber,radichio. 
  3. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Next step. Onto a bed of rock salt in a ceramic lasagne tray,then covered in finer salt.Into the fidge for a few days ,drain it regularly.

    Next step will be to press it under heavy weights to get salt all the way to middle & get as much moisture out of it as possible.

    Traditionally it was then sun dried but not possible here. I will get it into MES at maybe 35c for a day then hang it in wine cellar till I am happy with it.

    Mullet are bait or cat food to a lot of people here even the sea run mullet that provide this roe dont bring much  $ as fish.But the roe is better than any other top shelf fish I can name & I have tried this with at least 5 other fish. Its sweet ,intensely fishy ,very caviar like ,go figure, hard to explain unless you have had the real deal.

    I make it every year then sweeten deals with it.My Italian butcher friends will hand over prime cuts,chefs give me a complimentary bottle of wine that sort of thing or I just give it to friends.

    I just love thats its literally thousands of years old & unchanged over time.
    snorkelinggirl likes this.
  4. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Mick,

    What a great posting for Nose to Tail!! 

    OK, I'm a total idiot, but I always think of roe as little spherical fish eggs. Are they inside?  I guess that these are the entire roe pouches, so you aren't scooping out the eggs, but are leaving the whole thing as a unit.

    I love that you are doing something that is a traditional method of preservation, and folks are willing to barter with you for it. 

    If you keep any for yourself, I'd love to see a picture of the bottarga served in a finished dish!

    Thanks for a great and really interesting post!

  5. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Eggs are inside the 2 sacs ,tiny little things.Keep it intact or you are screwed when you try to preserve it. Need the fish gutters to be CAREFUL, roe worth x 5the price of the fish,maybe x 10 at some of the prices I saw.
    You have to approach it delicately so you don't break sack.When it's finally done its set like a ??? brownie or a something.More it dries over time the harder it gets.The outer skin peels off like paper.It keeps for who knows I am still eating last seasons. Nobody has finished product for sale now.
    A piece 3" x 2" will make pasta for 2 .Just,EVO ,garlic,shallot ,parsley,little chilli,toss your pasta through that then sprinkle bottarga on top.
    I posted this way back,it's the way I got to know Bearcarver because he loves his shad roe.
    Italians & foodie types get all excited about it because its authentic ,tasty but so strictly seasonal. It's famously from Sardinia where they harvest grey mullet. Anthony Bourdain showed his relatives doing it .
  6. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Excellent, thanks.  I'd love to see a cross-sectional picture whenever you have a chance. 

    Isn't it so appropriate that Bear loves his roe!  Hope he makes it over here to see your post (or re-post).

    Have a great day!

  7. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Went back through market to drop off bacon,lots of mullet but no roe in the whole place & its Australias largest fish market.Good thing I stocked up. At other times I have tried other fish roe but mullet is in a class of its own.I have never seen a recipe that contains anything except salt & sunshine. Why salt was so expensive back in the day.

    It comes from these guys.

  8. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

     OK 24  hours in.

    Its firmed up a bit I have drained it, turned it.Then I stack the 3 trays on top of each other back in fridge. I will start the press part tomorrow, maybe. I have also given it a gentle rub to get out any air pockets.Its got a lot of feel to making it, I dont want much give to touch in the finished product,bit like salami but not. 

    I have some terracotta tiles that I will sterilise & adapt to the press part.Balancing act is getting salt all the way in to the centre bit not overloading the salt.So at the moment its coarse rock salt added on the the new upwards facing side.

    I figure there are many examples of preserving with salt across cultures. Be it anchovies,baccala  ( salt cod), thai fish sauce  & shrimp paste(bechan) just to name a few.

    It seems this was traded around the Med by various people back in the day,Phoenicians,Venetians ,Spanish. Easy to see why its compact,long shelf life & a lot of bang for your buck (or shekel/lira/drachma ). It gave you high protein to get you by when fishing was poor,or pirates were laying siege. Ultimately  it became a delicacy. Mullet need salt river systems & lagoons so its limited to certain places. To the generation of Italians that migrated here it was rich peoples food by the 50s & 60s unless you actually lived in Sardinia.

    I accidentally split this guy . You can see the texture now eggs are like pin heads which is why its easy to compress.Lovely colour. 

    I am at butt end of last years so I will wait to photo this batch to compare finished product.
  9. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wow, those eggs are really packed in there. Now I understand why the cured and dried product is so dense and firm. Once the outer membrane is peeled off, you are just eating straight fish eggs.  We will be on the Amalfi Coast of Italy in September. Not very close to Sardinia, obviously, but if I see bottarga on the menu somewhere I would definitely like to try it.  Along with your Coda de Vaccinara, I now have 2 menu items to watch out for.

    On the roe pouch that got this cured enough that you were able to scoop out the eggs and eat them? 

    Thanks for taking the time to document this process with pictures and postings. It is fun to see a time-honored method of preservation in action. Great post! 

  10. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mick, The roe is beautiful.....   
  11. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You will see it on Amalfi coast but you want it shaved off the block not pre grated.I would want to see it grated in front of me. Its shipped all over Europe but the price goes up.Its boutarge in French I assume they do it on that Med coast where all those shallow estuary's  are .Bit labour intensive.

    The split one isnt ready .Once you salt it that much theres no going back. People here just fry fresh roe Bearcarver style or eat it raw just depends on the fish. I will probably cold smoke that guy then make a dip with bread soaked in milk sort of a taramousalata .

    Moari people have this thing about a sea urchin roe they call kina .It comes from some Islands of NZ .They go stupid for it,not cheap either.Always eaten raw .I have a few Polynesian friends,lots here.

    Like you I am paleo mostly,my girlfriend is retraining doing nutritional medicine she used to be an accountant. Instead of doing my taxes she now does my diet[​IMG].I used to have bottarga on pasta a lot but not now.If you are low sodium diet its a struggle but I cant /won't change the method. I just leave salt out of the pasta water. A primavera veg with bottarga works,zucchini flowers,peas,oyster mushrooms,spinach leaves EVO  garlic white wine is a winner. Or there is a really traditional Sicilian dish of cuttlefish & peas it goes with that .

    Have a great day ,bed time for me. Sorry I couldnt help with the kidney thread.
  12. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey Moikel !!!----This thread got my ears ringing!!!

    Your Roe looks Great!!!   The raw sacks look more like our Sucker Roe than Shad Roe, which is the only kind of Roe I like more than Shad Roe.

    I posted "Broiled Shad Roe" and "Pan-fried Shad Roe" a long time ago, but I might have to post my new way of doing Shad Roe. I've been chopping the Roe up. Then I start some Homemade Bacon frying, and dump the chopped up Shad Roe right on top, putting the lid on quick before the exploding eggs start flying around. Then I flip everything around a few times, until it's all done. Then I serve it on two slices of buttered toast.-----AWESOME STUFF !!!!

    Chopped up is the easiest way I've found too, because when you cook them whole, it's hard to get the inside done, without overcooking the outside.

    Nice Job, Mick!!!

  13. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thats the full press. No extra salt gave them a shake then laid them on plastic cutting boards with plastic sheet then tea towels then weights.I will let that sit for a few hours its a cool day. I will handle it after 6 hours or so .Back in fridge unweighted ,no extra salt over night. Then see if it needs to be pressed again tomorrow. Its all feel,just got to channel my inner sardinian to get it right[​IMG]

    I started with 3.9 kg interesting to see what I finish at.
  14. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thats last years but not mullet,I think its wahoo.
  15. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This is last years kingfish
  16. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    And this is the real deal mullet .A year old & still fine

    Its still a class of its own,the others were attempts to do it with what else turned up at the market but mullet is king.
  17. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Great post Mick! Bottarga I can handle. I use it like Fish Sauce, just a touch to add that something extra. But with all due respect to the Bear...Shad Roe is Not my thing. That stuff is Hardcore Oily and Uber Fishy tasting...JJ
  18. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LOL---You never had mine!! Only oil in mine is from the Bacon fat.

    Once I'm back in action, I want to try curing & smoking some.

  19. snorkelinggirl

    snorkelinggirl Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This picture is amazing. I'm going to have to give Dirtsailor a nudge to see if there are any mullet or similar fish in the Oregon area that one can get roe from.  I'd love to try out your process.
  20. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Clarissa, morning...  Give shad roe a try...  should be shad in the Columbia now or pretty quick...     Dave

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