When strolling through Mitsuwa, our national Japanese grocery chain, I spotted a little styrofoam container with what I recognized as a sac of fish eggs. Typically, when I think of these styros, I think of boneless, skinless things with very little flavor, but this was exciting and new. I picked up a single sac and thought of curing it like bottarga, the deliciously briny Sardinian cured mullet roe.
I would love to claim this as bottarga and, to some degree, it is like bottarga. However being like bottarga is not being bottarga. This roe comes from cod, not from mullet. It was not pressed to form a compact brick and it was only hung for about a month. The yellow color so bright in bottarga is a little dulled. There is little of the popping of the roe with each bite. However, instead of the focus being on what it is not, I would like to focus on what it is.
This cured cod roe is briny and bright. The funkiness is limited by the short drying time, but the cured cod roe brings a taste of the sea with each bite. I took inspiration from my most recent dinner at Nightwood, where Jason Vincent made an Arzak egg with scrambled eggs encasing the runny yolk. The delicious bundle was then topped with freshwater fish roe. After a few tries with cooking times, I was able to cobble together the scrambled Arzak eggs. Then I sprinkled the cured cod roe over the top of the egg. With a salad of raw asparagus in lavender vinaigrette and baby turnips. The egg, roe and asparagus salad was a great combination of flavors and textures. A fantastic spring lunch.
Cured Cod Roe
- 1 egg sac of cod roe
Step one: Soak the egg sack overnight in salted water.
Step two: Line a coverable dish with salt. Carefully lay the egg sac on the salt and cover the egg sac with more salt. Let cure for 2 weeks.
Step three: Carefully brush the salt from the sac. Wrap the sac in cheesecloth and allow to hang to dry for 4 weeks.