Italian cuisine is full of powerful flavours. It tends to focus on vibrant, strong and at times pungent ingredients and combinations. Think Fernet-Branca, Saltimbocca (which translates to ” jumps in the mouth“) and possibly the least mild of all classic Italian flavours, Anchovies.
However there is an ancient and perhaps little known Italian delicacy that fits the strong flavour mould.
Prepared and eaten as far back as Byzantine times, Bottarga is salted and dried fish roe pouch.
Traditionally there are two types of Bottarga. The Sicilian version – Bottarga di Tonno made using Tuna, and the highly prized Bottarga di Muggine made using Grey Mullet roe deriving from Sardinia.
Salumi Australia, renown for their Italian style Smallgoods, now has little brother,Bottarga Australia set to titillate Australian palates.
Bottarga Australia source their mullet roe locally from Tweeds Heads and cure it in their facility at Billinudgel. Interestingly many Italian Bottarga producers now source their mullet roe from Australia. Due to it’s excellent quality and decreasing stocks of Grey Mullet in the Mediterranean.
Preparing Bottarga involves removing the egg sacks and grading them, before immersing in sea salt and air drying. Naturally this all takes place under a skilled and watchful eye.
The finished product, known as a fillet, varies from a dark brown to amber colour, becoming a luxurious gold when sliced or grated. The flavour is one that could only come from the ocean, yet quite particular to Bottarga, with a firm waxy texture.
Bottarga can be grated on pasta, added to soups and stews, however the best way to enjoy it is Antipasto style. Thinly sliced, drizzled with lemon juice and Extra Virgin Olive Oil EVOO.
If the sound of Bottarga piques your interest, you’ll want to know about our Bottarga Masterclass at Byron Bay Fine Food & Beverage Festival.
It will be held in the Producer Masterclass marquee from 5:50 – 6:30pm on Festival day. The class called The Roe To Health & the Art of Bottarga will be presented by Michael & Massimo from Salumi/Bottarga Australia.
Like the majority of #ByronFoodFest masterclasses, it will be limited to 50 people. You can register for this or any masterclass at the festival.
You can follow the day to day Bottarga Australia journey on Instagram at @bottargaaustralia. You can find out more about the Producer and Beverage Masterclasses here, and you can buy tickets for Byron Bay Fine Food & Beverage Festival on Eventbrite.