Fish eggs on spaghetti! As a kid, I would have laughed at the idea. It was not in my mother’s repertoire.
When my brothers went fishing, it was up to them to clean and cook their catch; I always wished they fished more often.
Hard roe, soft roe, shad roe, coral—I didn’t know; caviar in the movies, yes but not in my mouth!
Ikura, Sujiko, Masago, Tobiko! Kazunoko, Karasumi, Uni! Tarako + Mentaiko!
イクラ, すじこ, 真砂 (?), 飛び子! 数の子/鯑, カラスミ, 鱲子, うに, 雲丹! たらこ + 明太子!
One doesn’t really need a recipe to make this dish: squeeze the mentiko roe from their sacs, mix it up with butter, and hot spaghetti. Of course you can make variations according to your taste. One important refinement I made was to mix the mentiko with some liquid so it was easier to get a more even dispersion of the tiny eggs.
makes 1 generous serving
- 5 ½ ounces (150 grams) thin spaghetti, capellini, or fettucini (as you like)
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- ½ onion, finely diced
- a pinch of smoked paprika
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Japanese mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons of dry white wine
- 2 Tablespoons chicken stock
- 1 egg, beaten (optional)
- ¼ cup half and half
- 2 sacs of mentaiko
- nori, cut into thin strips
- 1 green onion, cut into thin rings
- 2 smallish salted shiso leaves
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Sauté the onion in butter in a small pan until tender. Add the garlic with a pinch of smocked paprika, and cook until fragrant. Stir in the wine and chick stock; bring to a gentle simmer. Whisk in the egg to thicken the sauce a bit. Add the half and half, stir, remove from heat. Add the pasta to the roiling water and cook according to package directions. Meanwhile, squeeze the roe from their sacs, rinse the shiso leaves, chop them coarsely, prepare the nori and green onion. Drain the spaghetti and toss it with the Kewpie mayo. Reserve a spoonful of the mentaiko for garnish, and stir the remainder into the sauce—it shouldn’t be too hot or you will over-cook the roe. Mix part of the sauce with the pasta, then put it into a shallow bowl (or deep plate). Pour the remaining sauce on top. Garnish. Enjoy.
(If you didn’t use the egg in the sauce, some people like to put it on top of the pasta—poached or raw.)
Felix Gets the Can
This little cartoon video is here only because I like it—be sure to observe the drawings the landscapes and backgrounds: simply and elegantly done—don’t you think?