I am not going to mince words here. I was very uncertain about the bottarga. I mean when you think about it, preserved mullet roe doesn’t sound too appetising. It looks like a tongue, is hard like a softwood and smells like fish flakes. Then again if it cost £12 from an online food specialist then there must be people willing to pay for it, therefore it must be decent when used properly.
I followed a recipe from the Food Network to make a bottarga-centric pasta dish. Since I was not too sure whether or not I would like grated preserved mullet roe I didn’t put all the bottarga as directed.
That is until I put the first forkful into mouth I added some more bottarga and a pinch more Aleppo pepper. The smell of the bottarga may be strong, but the taste is not. It is far more subtle than I would have expected. It gives a delicately seafood taste to the pasta. It’s like a less pungent version of anchovies. I mean if this had a hint of tomato this dish would have been a lot like puttanesca.
I had some of the grated buttarga leftover so I sprinkled it over some garlic bread to give it that bit of salt and umami.
That brings me onto the Aleppo pepper. For a chilli pepper it smells sweet, almost like sun-dried tomatoes. The heat that comes out of this is well balanced to the sharpness. It’s the type of chilli pepper that is perfect for sprinkling over things, like I did with my pasta and garlic bread.