Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Spaghetti alla Bottarga with Meyer lemon and parsley

I was going to call it "Spaghetti alla Bottarga con Limone e Prezzemolo" but that seemed too fussy, so I broke half of it into English. That way I can confuse the Italians and English-speakers who find me accidentally through Google. Plus I don't know how to say "Meyer lemon" in Italian.

So, I got some bottarga. Color me smug. I didn't win any during that auction last Christmas, but was able to procure some anyways through a combination of whining and extremely good fortune. A generous Floridian fisherman took pity on me and sent a little sunshine my way, and I didn't even have to show him my tits.

Bottarga is a sun-dried, salt-cured mullet roe sac (though tuna is also used in Sardinia). This stuff is intensely flavorful, and little shaving is all you need. It's like the flavor of Mother Ocean and rich egg yolk fecundity concentrated down to a briny little ochrecake, and begs for citrus, olive oil and minerally herbs (I'm also interested in tasting it as karasumi to enjoy with cold sesame soba and premium sake but that's another day).

This hot little bitch doesn't play second fiddle to anyone (the bottarga, not me). I merely shaved it over some fresh spaghetti that I'd tossed aglio e olio with the zest and juice of a Meyer lemon, some chopped parsley and lots of good, crunchy sea salt. I warmed the garlic and lemon zest/juice in the olive oil before tossing it together to volatilize the fragrant essence, but other than boiling pasta, I didn't even have to cook to do this dish proper justice.

Serve with a chewy French batard (to sponge up the crumbles and drips) and humble indenture (thank you, Robert).

36 comments:

Peter G said...

"...and I didn't even have to show him my tits"...oh! I laughed so hard! I'm not really familiar with bottarga but it sounds quite rich...I also like the use of the lemons and zest in this!

Bellini Valli said...

I learn something new everyday as I have never heard of bottarga either. I'm with Peter and I laughed out loud!!!2009 willbe the year of trying new things:D

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Thanks for the education. I am guessing I can get bottarga just about anywhere here? I think I need to track some down!

Stacy said...

That sounds so good! I'm done with winter foods, I'm ready for light and citrusy. Anything but another root vegetable!

Foodycat said...

Yum. I wonder if I can get bottarga near here? If you have any left come summer, you can have a go at the Sardinian pasta with baby zucchini, squid and bottarga I had in Sydney a few weeks back...

maggie said...

I've never tried bottarga but also just posted a meyer lemon pasta (for the less lucky among us?)

inspiredbites said...

OMG, I'm laughing so hard.

Looks yummy. I'd love to try some.

cook eat FRET said...

and now you know...

Heather said...

Petah - It is rich, like grano padano or parm redge is rich. A little dab'll do ya.

Valli - That's a great resolution for 2009!

Judy - Well, this guy is a true artisan, but you might try searching the farmers' markets. Good luck!

Stacy - You're so close to Italy, you should just hop a train or ferry or whatever and go for the weekend, yeah?

Alicia - If you do, tell my friend Stacy where to get some. She's living in London via Portland and could go for some citrusy pasta, I hear. ;)

Mags - The Meyer lemons are so gorgeous and tempting right now, I pick some up every time I'm at the store. The bottarga made the meal, but is just an accent piece.

Meryl - You should! No cooking required.

Claudia - And knowing is half the battle. (wink)

Elra said...

OMG Heather,
pasta with any lemon will make my family so happy. I like the sounding of your title.
Cheers,
Elra

Brittany said...

I remember Claudia's bottarga exploits fondly. Especially the phrase "it's the bacon of fish"....

Lo said...

Seems a bit of whining paired with a bit of good fortune does it every time. This looks fantastic... my tastebuds are puckering up in anticipation.

LC said...

Bottarga sounds intense. How long does it keep? I bet you dig shad roe too! If so, we should talk in early June...

Cheers,
Lang (Finspot)

matt wright said...

Looks awesome. So simple, but absolutely delicious.

bb said...

That looks...and sounds...awesome. I ate amazing bottarga infused dishes in Italy, but haven't used it here. But now I'm gonna! Plus my Meyer lemon tree has the perfect specimen hanging there, and this may be its highest use. Have you ever used the bottarga they have occasionally at Pastaworks? It's the only place I've seen it in town. I'm guessing the guy behind the meat counter there would prefer not to see my man boobs......

ossi said...

hmmm, alright, I am game. I will give this a try.

Peter M said...

There's a thriving Bottarga industry in the region of Messonlonghi in Greece.

Most gets exported to Italy but I've seen similar dishes to this in Greek cook books...love the briny grit on the pasta.

If you feel cheated out of being a show-off...flash them puppies already!

Manggy said...

I suppose the non-second fiddle quality applies to you as well, doesn't it? ;) Totally luxurious. (I keep thinking of Donald Trump when I say that word, though I doubt he has tried bottarga.) I wonder if my moobs will get me any bottarga.

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

I love this pasta. Haven't had the pleasure of trying bottarga yet, so I am of course very jealous.

Brooke said...

So it's uber-fancy shave-off-some-crazy-intense-flavor-like-a-truffle fish? I have learned something. I am intrigued. And it's so pretty and orange. I must see the version with asian flair.

duodishes said...

This has to smell amazing.

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Ooooo you lucky girl! I was pining for that Bottarga as well but wasn't as resourceful as you when I didn't win it.

Looks delicious and I'm anxiously awaiting it's use as karasumi:-)

The Spiteful Chef said...

Hehehehe. Roe sac.

Your spaghetti looks fab, even if I can't get over the idea of fish eggs. Very niiiiice.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That looks just beautiful Heather! I love the intensity if color and I am guessing the intensity of flavor as well!

abadeeba said...

That nomenclature is just like the Olive Garden's "Chicken con Broccoli"... they didn't want to totally alienate their base.

Yours sounds much better. Frankly, it looks awesome.

cookiecrumb said...

So, you're moving in on Claudia's dealer?

Heather said...

wow! that sounds great! delicious food and no flashing required! you got lucky ;) the pasta sounds delicious - i love meyer lemon!

Holly said...

Spaghetti, bottarga, meyer lemon.....The name says it all, what wonderful ingredients.

we are never full said...

i would SO show anyone my tits for some bottarga. did you have to do any webcam sexual acts to get it? be honest.

i think i'm the only food freak that hasn't experienced bottarga. i feel at this point it's going to end up being like the movie "Titanic" - all hype. please tell me I"m wrong!

Heather said...

Elra - It's a nice taste of warmer weather, and it makes me happy too. :)

Britt - It is the bacon of fish. She nailed it.

Lo - It's done the trick for me thus far. Though Robert is kind of a softie, I bet a "please" woulda done it.

Lang - I've never tried shad roe, but I've had cod roe in Tokyo that was in-TENSE. June, eh?

Matt - Simple is best. Some things need very little fucking-with.

Bruce - I never tried any of Pastaworks' bottarga, but I bet Richard wouldn't mind a moob-flash anyways. :D (How in the hell are you growing a lemon tree in Portland, btw?)

Ossi - Oh, you so should.

El Greco - Ha! What'll you give me for it?

Marky - I suppose it does a little. ;) Donald Trump only eats steak and lobster with gold leaf because he has no taste.

JS - I bet you could find some karasumi pretty easily in Richmond. It's harder to find here.

Brookie - Yes, that is exactly how I though of it. I used a mandoline to shave it though, I don't have anything fancier.

Hay, You Two Dishes - It did smell quite nice, I must admit. :)

Marc - I found a place in NY that sells it online when I was Googling. You probably could get the karasumi easier. Being Japanese and all. (I can't read katakana or I'da looked myself.) :P

Kristie - It sounds tastier than "fish ovaries".

Jenn - It was definitely a concentrated flavor. Not fishy, really, just tasted like the sea. But earthier. It was wonderful.

A Little Dab'll Do Ya - I was totally gonna call it Chicken con Broccoli.

Cookie - Quiet, you.

Heather - I got lucky this time, but now he knows he coulda upped the price.

Holly - It all starts with the ingredients.

Amy - It is delicious and hype-worthy, but like any delicasy, should only be enjoyed sparingly. Though when I shaved the little pile it reminded me of corn flakes and I thought about eating a bowl if it.

testblog said...

Usually I hit the blogs linked from TasteSpotting exactly long enough to get a better view of the pretty foodie picture and to check the recipe. Thank you for holding my attention through an entire post with your saucebox wit and provocative ingredient use. =D (I must find some of this Bottarga! I'm tempted, however, to try this recipe with some decent sardines until I can get my hands on some.)

Choosy Beggar Tina said...

1. "Huh. I wonder what in Hell's name bottarga is?"
2. "Oh look, she's telling us!"
3. ".....sun dried salt cured mullet roe sac. I....I don't know if I could eat that...."
4. "Heather says it's good, and I trust Heather. And it looks real purty and I like things that are yellow, like lemons and daffodils. But...but it's a salt cured mullet roe sac."
5. "Maybe if I could just SEE her eat it first, maybe?"

So, Heather. Did you take any video of the eating of the mullet roe sac? Hmm?

glamah16 said...

Funny, I made a lemony pasta tonight, but no where as delicious as yours. Love the addition of the Bottarga. Glad you didnt have to show the twins to score. And yes, I remeber vividly "meeting " you last year for Black History Month. Will you be highlighting another blogger this year?

Zen Chef said...

Love, love, love Bottarga. I *almost* made the exact same thing today. I have all the ingredients lined up. Are we psychic weirdos or just plain genius?

Jude said...

That's a nice trick to lure in Italian and English readers through search.
Hard to imagine you playing second fiddle to anyone.

Foodycat said...

Heather - tell your gal Stacy that I ordered some through http://www.nifeislife.com/ It wasn't cheap oh no no no but it looks very good and the service was excellent.