Saturday, April 12, 2014

Recipe Selections: Spaghetti Parcel with Clams and Bottarga

Asi biri - Good day to Bottarga aficionados old and new.  

Here a classic Bottarga recipe from the cookbook, The Silver Spoon: Pasta.   Typically, visitors traveling to the Mediterranean are introduced to bottarga with spaghetti.  However, pasta is one of very many items to which bottarga makes a delectable condiment.  Keep coming back for dishes abound.

Spaghetti Parcel with Clams and Bottarga
From The Silver Spoon: Pasta


Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves 4

1 kg (2¼lbs) live clams
2 garlic cloves
1 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprig
(scant 1 cup) dry white wine
(scant ½ cup) olive oil
(12oz) spaghetti(1oz) bottarga (salted pressed grey mullet or tuna roe), grated1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsleysalt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F
Scrub the clams under cold running water. Discard any with damaged shells or that do not shut immediately when sharply tapped.  Put shells into a large saucepan with the garlic cloves and parsley sprig. Pour in the wine, cover and cook over a high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, for 3–5 minutes until the clams open.  Drain, reserving the cooking liquid, and discard any clams that remain shut. Set aside a few whole clams for the garnish and remove the remainder from their shells.  Pour the reserved cooking liquid through a muslin-lined strainer into a clean pan. Add the olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper and bring to the boil over a medium heat.Continue to boil until reduced and thickened.

Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, tip into the reduced cooking liquid and toss. Turn off the heat and stir in the bottarga, the parsley and the shelled clams.

Spoon the mixture into the centre of a large sheet of greaseproof paper, garnish with the whole clams, bring up the sides of the paper and fold over the edges securely to seal. Put the parcel onto a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.

Transfer the parcel to a warmed serving dish, open slightly at the top and serve immediately.

Tip: Chopped parsley should be added after the sauce is cooked, otherwise it loses some of its colour and flavour. Use carefully in sautéed vegetables as it burns easily and becomes bitter.
La Bottarga’ is fish roe that is air dried and cured. It is a sustainable delicacy that adds a refined flavor experience to Italian, French and other Mediterranean dishes.   In Italy bottarga is derived from mullet, tuna or sometimes swordfish, and then processed by salting, pressing and sun drying it.  It is called Boutargue in France, and Botargo in North Africa.  A similar product in Japan is called Karasumi, which is also derived from the mullet fish.  The Japanese product is then which is also derived from the mullet fish.  The Japanese product is then desalted by soaking it in fresh water before drying.   Sparkling Vermentino, Champagne,  premium vodkas, and red or black Mediterranean wines make fine accompaniments.   
Bottarga breaks into Hollywood!
If you haven’t already noticed bottarga has been getting a lot of buzz lately. Chefs and gourmet experts such as Mario Batali, John Eisenhart, Tyler Rodde, Curtis Di Fede, Tyler Florence, Martha Steward, Geoffrey Zakarian and others have featured the ancient delicacy on their cooking shows. In addition, bottarga has recently shown up as the star ingredient on ‘Chopped’, ‘Iron Chef America’ and ‘The Chew’.
Bottarga’s simple and delicate sea flavor is the ultimate enhancement for appetizers and main courses. Its popularity with nobility and gourmands has survived the test of time and continues to please.  Its no wonder its become a true culinary celebrity!

Spaghetti alla Bottarga
Recipe Courtesy of Mario Batali
Show: Molto Mario Episode: Foggia I  Yield:  4 servings   Level: Easy
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper 2
cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound spaghetti, preferably Italian
2 bunches Italian parsley, finely chopped, to yield 1/2 cup 6 ounces Bottarga, tuna or mullet Peeler or small mandolin
Zest of 2 lemons
Directions:  Heat 6 quarts water to boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. In a 12- to 14-inch saute pan, heat olive oil, red pepper and garlic over low heat until just fragrant, about 2 minutes, and remove from heat. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions until just al dente. Drain and pour into oil mixture and add parsley. Toss to mix well over medium heat and pour into warmed serving bowl. Shave Bottarga over bowl, sprinkle with lemon zest and serve immediately.
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