Mojama and Bottarga products have become somewhat of a delicacy within the modern culinary scene, but have actually been around for centuries. Many countries with a coastline have their own version of both Mojama and Bottarga - cured tuna and cured fish roe - though the curing process differs slightly from region to region, creating different tastes, experiences, and textures.
Mojama and Bottarga are mainstays of the Spanish diet. They add exquisite flavours to any dish they touch.
Our Spanish Mojama from Herpac is a naturally dry-cured tuna. Pieces of the tuna are taken from along the spine of the tuna. From there, they are salted and stacked in layers sprinkled with sea salt. After the salting process, they are rinsed and allowed to naturally dry through exposure to sunlight and sea breeze, using the winds from the Strait of Gibraltar off the South coast of Spain. It is a more concentrated flavour and should be used sparingly, but it adds a rich umami flavour with an underlying saltiness.
Our Spanish Bottarga from Herpac is salted, cured mullet fish roe. For preparation, the roe is taken from the mullet fish. It is salted, massaged to remove air pockets, pressed, and dried. This preservation technique allows the ingredient to last for months in the fridge, and can be used in a similar fashion to a hard cheese. The flavour is similar to caviar - salty, briny and bitter - but a very distinct taste!
The trick when preparing dishes with both products is to keep it light. These ingredients are best added to dishes that won’t overwhelm the flavour of the Mojama or Bottarga - they should be the stars of the show. Another tip - don’t cook them. They are best suited to being sliced thin and served with Olive Oil, flaked, or grated with a microplane and enjoyed overtop of salads, eggs, toasts, pastas, rice, and more.
Brothers Francisco and Diego founded the Herpac company in 1986 in Barbate. They began with making mojama by hand, using only the elements of the sun and the wind. Now, they have grown their operation and the third generation of their family is at the helm, but the process for making their Mojama has not changed. Herpac’s Tuna Mojama has been one of the few products chose to wear the seal of Protected Geographical Indication "Mojama de Barbate".
If you are looking to buy Mojama or Bottarga in the Toronto, Ontario, or Canada Area – shop online from us: The Spanish Store™. We are Canada’s one-of-a-kind online store for Spain’s most exquisite food, home and décor articles, drinks and lifestyle items. Enjoy specialty imports at your doorstep. www.thespanishstore.com
Photos courtesy of Herpac