Golden powder that smells of sea water. This amber-coloured nectar is a gift to food lovers from Neptune – or from Mother Nature – one of many unexpected gifts.
Botargo is made of the thousands of eggs that female mullets have in their egg sacks – it is one of the tastiest Sardinian foods. Salted, pressed and dried eggs.
Only the Mugil Cephalus mullet variety, known as flathead grey mullet, can contain this delicacy. It is the only species with egg sacks that are resistant enough to rubbing with salt. The result is as good as caviar.
At the end of the summer and the beginning of the autumn, fishermen go out to sea in search of mullet. They fish only the females with swollen silvery flanks and the unmistakable fatty lid – they cut it to extract the eggs. This is how the preparation of botargo begins.
This tasty delicacy is prepared in Europe, in Japan, on the coasts of the Mediterranean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, but there is none like Sardinian botargo.
It is the colour of old gold – amber - and feels compact and firm. Tuna botargo has a sea-like taste whereas mullet botargo has more delicate and refined taste, which makes the difference when served at table.
When you taste it for the first time you will love it or hate it – in one way or another you will remember it.
Do not worry if you do not love it the first time you try it, sliced with celery and served as a starter. A drizzle of oil, a drop of lemon and a sliced tomato will be the beginning of a long love story. There is no shortage of surprises and recipes in this love story. Grated or thinly sliced, botargo is a delicacy on spaghetti, risottos or malloreddus (Sardinian pasta) with garlic and parsley. Not to mention mouth-watering second courses and side dishes.
In Sardinia, the main production areas are Oristano, the gulf of Cagliari and the regions of Ogliastra and Sarrabus.
This poor man’s food is never missing during important celebrations in Sardinia. Tasting this food will take you back in time.
What is the secret?
A traditional production method passed on from generation to generation for thousands of years that has never changed. It is still the same and you can taste it with every bite.
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