PHOENICIAN DELICACY: CURED FISH ROE OF GREY MULLET WITH FRAGRANT HERB AND OLIVE OIL; BOTTARGA, LEBANON
Bottarga – half of Bottarga pouch
Garlic – 5 whole cloves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 3-5 table spoons
Bottarga – The Mediterranean delicacy of Bottarga dates back to the Phoenician Era of few thousand years ago. The ancient Phoenician cuisine encompasses traditional food preservation techniques utilizing all parts of the fish. Bottarga represents Grey Mullet roe (fish eggs) cured with sea salt, air dried and casted in bee’s wax. Bottarga made from Bluefin Tuna offers another variety and unique flavor. The Phoenician culinary traditions are faithfully preserved in the modern Lebanese cuisine. In Lebanon, the simple recipe of thinly sliced Bottarga (Batrakh in Arabic), topped with sliced garlic, soaked in olive oil and served with fresh flat bread, perfectly balances the flavors. The freshly baked Lebanese bread made of flour, water, yeast, sugar and salt, offers subtle taste and light texture. The cured fish roe pouches of Grey Mullet tempt the senses with vibrant colors and intense flavors of the sea. Throughout the Mediterranean region, Bottarga enriches the culinary creations in Lebanon, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey and Egypt. The Asian interpretation of the cured fish roe of Grey Mullet, called Karasumi in Japanese, represents a highly praised delicacy in Japan and Taiwan. The Karasumi tradition in Japan dates back to the Japanese Edo Period, reflects an expensive high quality product that is often served with sake (Japanese alcohol made from the fermented rice). The selected premium quality Bottarga used in this recipe, comes from the Mediterranean Sea and is made by the Trikalinos Company, a family business established in 1856 in Greece.
Step 1 – Peel the outer beeswax layer of Bottarga. Thinly slice Bottarga and place each slice individually on the serving plate.
Step 2 – Peel fresh garlic cloves and thinly slice. Place one piece of sliced garlic on each piece of sliced Bottarga.
Step 3 – Pour extra virgin olive oil on every Bottarga and garlic piece. Allow 30 minutes for Bottarga to absorb added olive oil and to augment the flavor.
Step 4 – Serve Bottarga with fresh Lebanese bread, or other thin layered bread.
Step 5 – Enjoy the harmony of flavors!