Homemade Botargo di Tonno. Botargo is a air-dried salt-cured fish egg or roe which considered as delicacy in Mediterranean cuisine. Botarga di Tonno is botarga made of tuna roe, while bottarga is refers product made of grey mullet fish or called bottarga di muggine which is the most pricey and expensive. This is one of the seafood charcutteries featured in my blog, you can served this bottarga with my Homemade Hot Smoked Salmon and Homemade Gravlax (Dill and Honey Cured Salmon Fillet).
Bottarga is popular name in English and Italian, while it’s popular with other names around the world; karasumi (Japan) butàriga (Sardinian), botarga (Occitan, Spanish, and Catalan), poutargue or boutargue (French), butarga (Portuguese), batarekh or butarkhah (Arabic), tarama or haviar (Turkey) and avgotaraho (Greek). Here in Indonesia bottarga possibly translated as telur ikan tuna asin, while in Malaysia there also salted and cured fish roe called telur terubuk masin made of the roe of freshwater fish Toli Shad.
Botargo di Tonno is made from the roe sac of tuna, beside tuna or mullet roe, bottarga can also made of swordfish, halibut, herring, flounder, white seabass, weakfish or mackerel or other small size fish egg with sac, so never made it with salmon roe. My fellow blogger friend Merryn of Merry’sMenu even Making Bottarga from Flathead Fish Roe. I’m making mine from tuna, the fishmonger told me that it’s dogtooth tuna fish roe. I actually specially ask my fishmonger to save the tuna’s roe for this fish egg seafoood charcuterie project. The Minangkabau descent fishmonger guy actually used to save the roe and bring it to feed his family and never even though to sell it because it’s considered as delicacy, his wife used to make Gulai telur Ikan (Fish Roe Curry) or Pindang Telur Ikan (Spicy sour Fish Roe Soup) with it.
How too choose the egg roe for making homemade bottarga ? first step is make sure you choose the very fresh egg roe with complete and unbroken sac attached and covering the roe. Never used any fish roe broken sac because the salt will penetrated too much into the roe and made it too salty and almost unedible once it cured. FRESHNESS is the KEY of DELICIOUSNESS of bottarga, fresh tuna roe used to be bouchy and not too watery or too dry with natural pleasant sea fragrance, never used if the smell too strong or even slight rotten fishy aromas. Choose the ripe fish roe is one where you can see the eggs in the sac they come in, and that they are uniform in color. The watery fish roe is normal, but will take longer time to cure. Unripe fish roe will not work, you must be able to see the eggs; if they are too small, do something else with the roe.
Now we making the homemade tuna fish roe Bottarga di Tonno. The tuna fish roe submerged in a 37 % salt saturated water solution overnight and then patted dry. The tuna fish sacs then individually coated with olive oil and let it sit for about few hours until the oil absorbed to prevent it dry once cured. The fish roe then coated with salt and then marinated for about 2-3 days depending on the size of the fish roe sac, the bigger sac needed more time. You may see some liqued dripping from the fish roe sac and some of the salt dissolved, hence you need to massaged the outside by hand to eliminate air pockets and add extra salt and to coated the cured fish roe. The result is firmer fish roe and it’s need to be air dry cured and let the time changing the salted raw tuna fish roe into Bottarga di Tonno
This is the salted and marinated fresh tuna fish egg roe for two days. The salted tuna fish roe sack then washed under running cold water, rubbed the sack a little bit to removed the excess salt and then patted dry with dry and clean pepper towel. The salted tuna fish roe much more firmer than than the raw sack.
This is the Bottarga di Tonno or salted and cured tuna fish roe after air dry cured for about fourteen days in my refrigerator. Bottarga should be firm but not rock hard, the salt should not over power the flavor of the bottarga, there should just be a hint of salt in it’s flavour and it should be gentle on the palate. The bottarga should not be dry but moist an creamy in flavour.
This is homemade Bottarga di Tonno or salted and air dried cured tuna fish roe finished product looked a like once i cut the sac it in half. There’s different color and texture of the bottarga, it’s depent on the ripeness of the roe inside of the sac before it’s salted an cured. The overly ripe tuna fish roe got bigger individual grainy egg and it’s crumbled easily once grated, just perfect for making pasta or fried rice. The sufficiently fully ripe fish turn into a very moist and creamy bottarga, just perfect to almost any bottarga recipe, but i prefer to served it raw without any heating or cooking process.
The salted tuna fish roe or Bottargo di Tonno is now ready to use in any kind of dish you want it to be. Bottarga is briny with a creamy buttery sweetness, smooth and slighly grainy in texture with a natural savoury sea flavour. If you love caviar, you probably loves bottarga and vice versa, but my friend who doesn’t love caviar lovin the bottarga once it cooked with pasta.
Here’s Few Ideas of How to Eat and Enjoy Bottarga:
1. Sliced or Grated Raw Bottarga
Raw thiny sliced or grated bottarga is used to be served as as an appetizer. The richness of bottarga with it’s naturl briny ts is a great option for appetier because the bold naked savoury flavour of bottarga is definitely tickle the taste buds. Bottarga also can be eaten with lemon juice on a piece of baquette, pizza, flatbread or any kind of bread which used as you serving anchovy. This is thinnly sliced Tuna Fish Bottarga di Tonno served as topping for Homemade Flat Bread or Tortilla with sliced raw shallots, chopped tomato, black olives puree, chopped chillies, micro greens and edible black mustard blossom. The flat bread tuna fish Bottarga di Tonno also drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
2. Bottarga with Pasta
Bottarga with pasta is the most common way to prepare the cured fish roe. The dried salted fish roe grated or finely chopped then sauteed with butter and other ingredients like garlic, chili and shallots until slighly bubbly and cooked. The best quality bottarga made of ripe fish roe will be crumbly well coated evely the pasta that lated added into it. The picture above is Bottarga Angel Hair Pasta aglio olio and served it with crayfish confit.
3. Bottarga with Rice
Bottarga with rice, now my Indonesian taste buds will be satisfied. The Nasi Goreng (fried rice) telur ikan asin or translated as salted fish roe fried rice is the best way to present the savoury sea flavour of it. The sauteed grated bottarga stir fried with the spicy spice paste and rice and other ingredients until the individual grain of rice is charred and coated well with the cured fish egg. Extra grated bottarga made it delicious even more. In Malaysia especialy in Serawak, the freshwater toli shad fish bottarga or telur ikan terubuk masin used to be steamed with rice and eaten as a morning booster.
Raw bottarga is got a pleasant sea briny flavour and the delicate sea aromas even stronger once it cooked. This afternoon i made dinner of Nasi Goreng or fried rice with grated bottarga and my grandma comes curiously to the kitchen by the aromas once i tossed the grated tuna bottarga with butter. The fried rice above is actually bold and very simple, but the spicy chili spice paste and the savoury grated Bottarga di Tonno made it very hearty and delicious, then i said myself this salt cured fish roe is worth all the time the efforts.
Recipe Bottarga di Tonno (Salt Cured Tuna Fish Roe)
- whole fish roe or egg sacks (small eggs are best)
- 37% salt solution brine (10 grams salt per 1 litre of water)
- olive oil
How to Make Bottarga di Tonno (Salt Cured Tuna Fish Roe)
- Soak the tuna fish roe overnight in 37% saltwater solution .
- Remove from the solution and pat dry the tuna fish roe on paper towels.
- Coat the tuna fish roe with olive oil for about 2-3 hours
- Lay out fresh paper towel on a tray and liberally sprinkle with salt, place the roe on top and cover with more salt.
- Place this in the fridge and massage it to remove hte air pocket, replace the paper towels daily.
- After 2 or 2 days the tuna roes will have firmed up.
- Washed the tuna roe fish sac under running tab water to removed the excess salt, pat dry
- Hang or pleace the salted tuna roe in a rack and place it in a cool dry place (refrigerator) for 10–14 days (or longer, if desired).
- Remove the roe from its hanging place, wrap and refrigerate.
- Bottarga is best served freshly sliced or grated onto pasta.