2014 Gift Guide, Day 22

December 15, 2014

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Poor Man's Caviar

Or maybe not so poor. Bottarga, the cured roe of grey mullet, isn't exactly cheap. On the other hand, you get the hit of caviar – that sexy saline flavor – without the expense.  Because you just can't eat that much of it.

Bottarga is poised to be tomorrow's uni – the food darling of the moment – and we're going to see it on everything.  Why not?  It's fantastic shaved over pasta.  It's wonderful on salads. And one of the best dishes I've had recently is the bottarga April Bloomfield serves at The John Dory. She sandwiches it between a couple slabs of carta di musica, the Sardinian bread that seriously resembles matzo, along with generous amounts of butter and a sprinkling of chile.  It's almost impossible to stop eating, it would make a great appetizer at home – and it's particularly good with this bottarga.

Most bottarga comes from Greece, from Italy, occasionally from France. But this is a strictly American product: local, sustainably produced on the Sea of Cortez, and truly fine. This is Florida bottarga – and it's great.  Who wouldn't be thrilled to find some bottarga sitting beneath the tree?

And should you want a recipe, I've got one for bottarga pasta in my forthcoming cookbook.  But here's another recipe for bottarga pasta with lemon, ricotta and arugula that looks seriously delicious. 

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