Sardinia cured fish roe – sea gold

9,5 % of the national fishing fleet
10,6% Demersal trawl
80,4% Small scale fisheries
9,0 Polyvalent passive gears


Cured fish roe is an amber coloured treasure kept safe in the bellies of female tuna and mullet. It enhances numerous recipes with its unique flavour: sweet and salty with a slightly bitter aftertaste. The preparation of cured roe is carried out according to techniques that have been used since ancient times, when it was often a secondary activity for tuna and mullet fishing communities. The stages in the transformation of mullet or tuna roe are still the same, it is a ritual that has stood the test of time, the crucial phases are salting, pressing and drying.

The Egyptians in 3000 b.c. were already producing cured roe from the from eggs of several fish species, but it was the Phoenicians who introduced in ​​this process into the whole Mediterranean area. Later the Arabs also revived the tradition and this link can be found in the origin of the name: the word used in Italian, “bottarga” would seem to derive from the Arabic “Butarih” which means salted or smoked fish. In Sardinia, processing and consuming this product is a centuries-old custom and the gastronomical traditions of the island use cured roe in many ways, it can be eaten raw, sliced ​​or grated to flavour dishes.

It may be because it is nutritious and rich in omega 3, or because of its versatility in the kitchen or simply because it’s very good, but nowadays appreciation of cured roe has spread went beyond the regional or national borders, it is well-known, loved and consumed abroad, from Germany to the Philippines.