Poutargue, also called "boutargue", is said to have been invented in Egypt 4,000 years ago. At the time, it was as luxurious as caviar. It was found in Tunisia in the 16th century thanks to the Jews of Constantinople and shared throughout the Mediterranean basin. In France, this rare and sought-after dish is a speciality of the town of Martigues. It is known as "Martégal caviar" and has been marketed since the 18th century.
Varieties and Flavours
Mullet eggs are harvested from 1 July to 1 March. This is the time when the fish leave the Etang de Berre to reach the Mediterranean and lay their eggs. The mullet is fished with a net and the pouch containing the eggs is extracted. The pouch is salted and left to dry for 5 to 10 days. A layer of wax is wrapped around it to protect it and stop the eggs maturing, or it is vacuum-packed.
Refined, with a powerful marine flavour and a complex aroma, poutargue is worth discovering.
The Question on Everyone's Mind
How much does poutargue cost?
Prices vary from €160 to €220 per kilo because mullet fishing is sometimes random and difficult and, above all, carried out in a very short period of time.
How to Eat It
Poutargue is used like truffles, cut or grated into thin slices, and is added to the dish at the time of tasting. It can be added to toast, salads, pasta or rice, vegetables and mild cheeses such as mozzarella, burrata or feta. It goes perfectly with white wine and blackcurrants.
Toast with Poutargue:
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
Ingredients for 4 people:
1 small country baguette
- Wash the lemon. Remove 1 tablespoon of the zest. Mix the zest with the soft butter.
- Remove the poutargue from its shell. Cut it into small shavings using a vegetable peeler.
- Cut the baguette into slices and brown them for a few minutes under the grill.
- Spread the bread with the lemon butter and garnish with shavings of poutargue.
- Decorate with chopped chervil and sprinkle with pink peppercorn.
Where to Buy It
Chez Boutargue Meyer, 90 rue d’Italie, Marseille.
La Saveur des Calanques, Quai des Sardiniers, Port-de-Bouc.
Or you can buy poutargue from their website: www.saveurdescalanques.com