Making Bottarga/Botargo/Dried Cured Fish Roe

I have come across bottarga (which is how I will refer to it from this point on) I think by accident. I didn’t even know what bottarga is. I didn’t even know you can actually salt and preserve fish roe, besides caviar! So it was a happy accident. Ever since, I started spying for whole fish egg sacks in the supermarket. Sometimes I get lucky, most of the time I don’t. But I do like my fish eggs and always check every now and then to see.

All the way from Davao
All the way from Davao

After a brief conversation with an officemate, I was surprised to know that we do actually sell fish eggs. Granted it was in Mindanao (about two hours flight from Manila), but we have it. It was my boss who was flying there and I ended up asking her to get some for me. And she agreed! So now, I have more than a kilo’s worth of fish eggs. Huge ones at that!

Soaking in salt water
Soaking in salt water, see the torn sac on the upper one? 

It was properly packed (frozen) in paper, cling wrap, newspaper, cling wrap, and cardboard box when it reached me. And I quickly defrosted it when I got home. I had two packages, each of which contained two long sacks of roe. I was too excited and actually ended up ripping the skin of one of the four roe sacks about two inches, but I proceeded to make some bottarga anyway.

Removed from the salt water
Removed from the salt water

i am following this guideline and instruction I saw online. The difference between this one and the others was soaking it in salt water overnight. But the rest are the same (Cover in oil, cover in salt, change towels. Do step 2 and 3 repeatedly.). The only thing I thought would benefit the soaking in salt water is leaching out some of the blood (there were some) and the salt going in the fish roe.

Salted and already weeping after a few minutes
Salted and already weeping after a few minutes

So I am still on the first day, and I will be salting this daily I think. The moisture was quickly coming out of one set of roe sacks after salting it, so i can only imagine how it will be for the rest of the day. I hope this turns out well, like all of those curing/drying recipes I have done. Now to wait for a week, or more. 🙂

By the way, these are huge roe sacks, about a foot long each, in pairs.


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