I like to cook on the cheap. I learned it out of necessity, cause line cooks make very little money. Lots of my dishes are "stone soup" affairs, where I basically hope the ingredients into existence. Learning how to cook like that has taught me all kinds of valuable lessons like how to stretch leftovers, stocking a larder with multi-use essentials, and avoiding frivolous stuff (Why do people buy sliced mushrooms, anyway?). It’s also taught me to value really excellent stuff when I get it. In the case of this wonderful bottarga di muggine (grey mullet roe) it is utterly worth every dollar. And that’s sixteen of them per ounce, bud.
Oh, salty fishy goodness!
This is the whole roe sac, removed in one piece from the fish, then salted, pressed and dried. Bottarga di muggine is a more refined flavor than the kind made with tuna, and certainly less common here in the US. Less perfect bottarga can be had at specialty stores, pregrated and stored in jars or cans. But sheesh, this is so much better; like eating freshly sliced truffles as opposed to the kind you find in a tin. To use it, just grate over pasta, beans, rice and the like.
Then there’s the mosciame del tonno I got to try the same day… Very much like ham in texture, and uncharacteristically mellow for tuna. This is air-dried, salted tuna from Sardinia, same place of origin as the bottarga. Also, just about the same price range. So enjoy, already.
Here are a couple of traditional recipes for both: Spaghetti Con Bottarga and Green Bean Salad with Mosciame.