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Bottarga di Muggine

Botargo or mullet roe, also called bottarga (Italian).

Botargo is the roe pouch of grey mullet. It is massaged by hand to eliminate air pockets, then dried and cured in sea salt for a few weeks. The result is a dry hard slab.

Botargo is made of the thousands of eggs that female mullets have in their egg sacks – it is one of the tastiest Sardinian foods. Salted, pressed and dried eggs.
Mugil Cephalus mullet variety, known as flathead grey mullet, can contain this delicacy. It is the only species with egg sacks that are resistant enough to rubbing with salt.

Bottarga di Muggine is one of the hallmarks of Sardinian food culture. Its history can be traced back to the dawn of civilisation, to the Phoenicians who already 3000 years ago began to salt and dry grey mullet roe. We know from ancient writers that this delicacy was produced along the banks of the Nile and it would seem that traces of it have even been found inside the Egyptian pyramids. Its method of preparation has remained unchanged over the centuries: the roe is cleaned, salted, pressed and dried. The heritage of preserving seafood and farming the nutrient-rich sea salt of the tidal marshes and using it to preserve that seafood is maintained to this day especially in Sicily and Sardinia. Fishermen from Sardinia bring the tradition of air-cured tuna and flavorful sea salt to the rest of the world.
While the practice of preserving tuna or mullet roe is sometimes thought to be the legacy of the Byzantines, the practice actually goes farther back, to ancient and possibly even pre-historic times. The same process is used in Turkey, Egypt, and some coastal areas of Asia.

The advent of modern technology has not altered the procedure followed: each sac of roe is prepared separately and the whole production process is performed by hand, whereas ISO 9001 certification guarantees full respect of the strictest hygiene standards. Stylish and versatile, cut into wafer-thin slices it is an excellent match with fresh vegetables as an ingredient in delicious salads.

Serving Suggestions:

In Italy, it is best-known in Sicilian and Sardinian cuisine; its culinary properties can be compared to those of dry anchovies, though it is much more expensive. Bottarga is often served with lemon juice as an appetizer or used in pasta dishes. In Lebanon it is served sliced, where each slice is covered with a piece of raw garlic and the whole is immersed in Extra virgin olive oil then eaten with flat bread.Bottarga can also be used in a salad of sliced cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. Aged bottarga, however, is best grated over a plate of hot pasta or grate it into your rice congee for a more flavorful breakfast.
Bottarga may be shaved, sliced, chopped or grated, and just a little provides a ton of flavor to a whole host of dishes. A very popular dish is Spaghetti con Bottarga, made with grated or finely chopped bottarga, Extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes and chopped parsley – simple but delicious. Try topping a salad of bitter greens with shaved bottarga,

Bottarga should be kept in a cool place away from the light. For modern households, the refrigerator is usually the best spot.
Bottarga has high protein content and is very rich in Omega3 fatty acid; it is amber in colour and has a decided yet delicate flavour.

    

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