Bottarga Di Orbetello
Approaching Orbetello from Monte Argentario, the southern Tuscan town seems to rise straight out of the lagoon, a little reminiscent of Venice. it’s a unique sight in Tuscany.
The lagoon characterises and defines the city, and its created by two sand bars, the beautiful, long, soft sanded beaches of Feniglia and Gianella, which connect Monte Argentario to the Tuscan mainland. The historical centre of Orbetello is finger-shaped and juts out into the lagoon so that the town is surrounded almost completely by water. Being in Orbetello, you live and breath.
Bottarga comes from the an Arabic word, botarikh, for cured fish eggs, a technique of preserving introduced to the lagoon town by the Spanish, who ruled Orbetello more than 500 years ago. Its is still made today by the fisherman’s cooperative of Orbetello. Traditionally, during the months of August and September, grey mulleys are carrying eggs, the fish are caught during their natural migration at the mouth of the lagoon, then worked entire by hand - egg sacs are removed carefully so as not to break them, cleaned, then placed under salt for brief curing, after which the egg sacs are rinsed and dried.
Bottarga di Orbetello is different from that of Sardinia and other places. It’s stronger in flavour and softer in texture, so you can slice it and eat it with just a squeeze of lemon and a splash of olive oil on crostini. The longer you keep it, the darker and drier it gets until you need to grate it.