Monday, 7 September 2015

Recipe: Spaghetti with bottarga

Spaghetti with bottarga
Spaghetti with sliced bottarga, lemon zest, chilli and pea shoots.

I've come quite late to bottarga. But this is the most incredible ingredient. How to describe it? It is compressed fish roe from tuna or grey mullet, which sounds kind of yucky but in reality is instant umami flavour. Grey mullet is more expensive. I bought it for the first time in Istanbul, encased in beeswax, where it was cheap. In the UK it's pricey. Here is a list of places you can buy it:


  • The Fish Society: 90g is £15.50p plus postage £10
  • On Amazon: 90g is £19.50p plus £3.99 postage
  • Delicatezza: 100g is £9.99 plus £6.95 outside and free in London with £20 minimum order. (I've also used these guys for their fantastic burrata). So this is probably the best deal.
  • Waitrose sometimes has it ready grated in jars, but it probably isn't as good.

Basically, you need to find a bottarga dealer. I was talking with Anglo Italian chef Joe Hurd about where to score it: he has a bottarga bloke who fishes lumps of it out of his backpack when persuaded to with the help of several glasses of vino.
I have several versions of this super simple recipe. it's as easy as opening a jar of pesto.



Spaghetti with grated bottarga, butter, parsley, black pepper and lemon juice

Serves 2 to 5

500g of very good quality spaghetti (11 mins cooking time)
Sea salt for water, a decent amount that penetrates the spag
100g salted butter
1 lemon, zest and juice
45g bottarga, finely grated
A fist of flat leaf parsley, picked from the stems
A good few turns of fresh black pepper

Cook the pasta in boiling salty water for a minute or two less than packet time. 
Strain and sling it back in the hot pan, toss in the butter.
Grate in the lemon zest (taking care not to touch the white bitter part) and squeeze in the juice.
Dish it up and grate on the bottarga, scatter some parsley, grind on the pepper.
Simples.

Spaghetti with sliced bottarga, lemon zest, chilli and pea shoots

Serves 2 to 5

500g spaghetti (11 mins cooking time)
Sea salt for water
100ml olive oil
1 lemon, zested
1 tbsp of chilli flakes (pepperoncino if you have it)
45g bottarga, finely grated
50g pea shoots (available at Waitrose and Sainsburys)

Cook the pasta in boiling salty water for a minute or two less than packet time. 
Strain and sling it back in the hot pan, toss in the oil
Grate in the lemon zest (taking care not to touch the white bitter part).
Dish it up and grate on the bottarga, scatter some chilli flakes, dot around the pea shoots.
Delish.


Spaghetti with grated bottarga, lemon zest, broccoli, almonds, garlic


Serves 2 to 5

500g spaghetti (11 mins cooking time)
Sea salt for water
1 head of broccoli, split into florets
1 clove garlic, grated
50g slithered almonds
100ml olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juice of 1/2 a lemon
45g bottarga, finely grated


Cook the pasta in boiling salty water for a minute or two less than packet time. 
Put a colander over the pasta saucepan with the broccoli florets inside. This will steam them.
At the same time, have another pan on the go, to briefly fry the broccoli, almonds, garlic.
Strain the broccoli florets after five minutes of steaming and fry it in a little olive oil in the other pan, adding the garlic and almonds.
Strain the pasta and sling it back in the hot pan, toss in the oil
Grate in the lemon zest (taking care not to touch the white bitter part) and squeeze in the lemon juice into the pasta.
Add the broccoli, garlic, almond mixture into the pasta.
Dish it up and grate on the bottarga.
Smashing.

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