What do the cuisines of Italy, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea have in common? Salted, dried mullet roe, of course. It’s bottarga in Italy, karasumi in Japan, wu yu zi in Taiwan, and myeongran in Korea, says K K. But it’s the same delicious, umami stuff all over the world, and it’s often used in the same way—grated over noodles like Parmesan, or over rice with a drizzle of olive oil, says joonjoon.
It can be enjoyed in other ways, though. tarteaucitron likes it “thinly sliced on angel hair pasta with just a bit of olive oil, lemon rind, and juice (especially to cut the slight metallic taste).” “I also liked it on pasta with some lemon cream sauce, and squid ink pasta made it even prettier,” says tarteaucitron. “It makes a nice appetizer with beer or cold cider, especially with rye toast and butter.” ipsedixit thinks it’s “terrific in Taiwanese rice rolls, congee or as ‘sandwich meat’ between two slices of pan-fried mantou. Also great just sliced and garnished with toasted peanuts and scallions and, of course, accompanied by a cold Tsingtao.” “My dad either pops it into the toaster oven to broil it or just pan-fries it a bit,” says huaqiao. “I think I’ve seen him soak it in some rice wine first. Served sliced with slices of raw garlic … we just eat it with dinner like any other dish.”