Bottarga – Cured Fish Fun

If people go and put fish on their pizza, it it usually anchovies. However, my favorite fishy pizza topping is Bottarga. It is cured fish roe, made by taking the roe pouch from tuna or grey mullet and preserved by curing it in salt for a couple of weeks. When cured, it forms a hard log which can be shaved on top of pasta or pizza, or served thinly sliced as an appetizer.

I came across two different producers offering it at the Fancy Food Show. Trikalinos, from Greece, offers traditionally prepared grey mullet, packed in beeswax. It is distributed in the US by the Rogers Collection. It is not cheap though, a 1/2 pound stick is over $100. Luckily it keeps forever and a little bit goes a long way. Still, that is a lot of money for what was traditional a peasant food. Bottarga is traditional Mediterranean ingredient and I also found a producer in the Italian pavilion. Su Tianu Sardu is located in Sardinia and produces both mullet and yellowfin tuna Bottarga. They offer it in both preserved blocks and pre-ground jars, which is a little more convenient. While their prices are much more reasonable, the unfortunately do not ship to the US. Luckily Amazon carries Sardinian Bottarga, is there anything they don’t have?

Bottarga Di Muggine (Grey Mullet Roe) From Cabras, Sardinia

Of course if you are feeling bold, you could always try making it yourself. In the US you can try making it with Shad Roe which is available seasonally.

If you are just looking to give it a try, head over to Pizzeria Paradiso in DC and order a Bottarga Pizza. It has Tomato, Egg, Garlic, Parsley, Parmesan, Bottarga on it and is baked in their super hot oven so that the egg in the center sets, but the yolk is still runny. It is utterly delicious.

3 thoughts on “Bottarga – Cured Fish Fun

  1. Hello Luke,

    I am glad to see my hand holding our Trikalinos Bottarga -of such a bright, golden color, so juicy that you can even see the drop of the sea trapped inside- appearing as the main photo of your article!

    There is not any difference in the price!

    Nevertheless, I would like to point, that Trikalinos Bottarga cannot be compared to any other Bottarga in the world, as it is a totally different product, outstanding for its exceptional quality, that can only be compared to Caviar.
    After all, this is the suggestion of Allan Richman and Ferran Adria, who believe that Trikalinos Bottarga is the alternative to Caviar! (Kindly see:
    Fragile Feast, Routes to Ferran Adria, page 250)

    Wishing you a delicious 2012!

  2. Hello, I agree with the fist part of this article: I am a bottarga fan and the best bottarga I ve ever tried was the TRIKALINOS BOTTARGA and it is worth the extra cost. Sorry my friend there is not any comparison between the juicy, fresh smelling, with great aftertaste Trikalinos Bottarga and the rest you have mentionned.
    Have a nice day

  3. Luke,

    You should check out our local US caught and processed striped grey mullet bottarga by Cortez Mullet Company on Florida’s Gulf coast. The quality is incredible and we’ve got some chefs around the country doing amazing things with the product!


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