Bottarga Bread Salad

Bottarga Bread Salad for my Birthday

March 8, 2010 · 25 comments

Hey everyone. It’s my birthday!

I’m getting old. Not that old, but old still. Old for me. When did you start feeling old?

It’s an awkward birthday too. On a Tuesday, and for the first time in years I won’t be at work. Not really sure what to do with myself all day. People keep saying, “do something fun” or “treat yourself.” But treat myself to what? I’m at a loss. Blank. No idea what activity would be deemed special enough to mark my 31 years. Can a birthday really be a big deal without a party, or a meal with family, or getting dragged to drinks by co-workers? I think it can, especially a birthday when Alejandro cooks for me.

And wait, I shouldn’t say “all day,” because Erin and I are checking out potential spaces for Little Mac in Old Oakland tomorrow. And that’s exciting. It’s so hard to move forward with plans before a lease is signed. Although we did have fun choosing wines in Sonoma–something we can for sure take care of beforehand.

My birthday actually came a bit early this year, with a gift from my new friend Scott, owner of the Sausage Debauchery. Scott knows me well, and sent me Sicilian salted anchovies, Marinella capers and mullet bottarga. Ah, bottarga!  It’s cured and dried fish roe that you grate over pasta, eggs, crostini–almost anywhere you would use parmigiano-reggiano. Not as earthy as anchovies, but it has the heady brininess that you only find in preserved sea life. I’ve been waiting to try this stuff for years, but it’s always been out of my price range–one small block can go for $80. Scott has both tuna and mullet bottarga for much cheaper. Check out his ebay store for bottarga and lots of Italian goodies you can’t find elsewhere.

I dished up a bread salad to serve as the backdrop for the salty fish roe. A crunchy sweet batard torn, toasted and tossed with olive oil, pan-roasted butter beans, thinly sliced celery and spicy arugula, all topped with a caper vinaigrette and dusted with bottarga. Freshly filleted anchovies sat off to the side, waiting to be covered in extra dressing.

It was good. It was really really good. Ask Erin, she had some too. And she’ll be writing my next post, so please, ask her if you don’t believe me.

Oh hey, I have a limoncello update. It’s mixed with the sugar, and getting nice and mellow before heading into the freezer. Check out my facebook page later in the week for the recipe.

Bottarga Bread Salad with Butter Beans and Caper Vinaigrette
Serves 2

1 can Italian butter beans (use dried if you have them, soaked and cooked)
1 cup very thinly sliced celery (a mandoline works nicely)
Handful arugula, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 freshly baked sweet batard
2 tablespoons salted capers, washed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt

Caper Vinaigrette
Put the capers in a deep bowl, add a sprinkle of salt, and mash using a pestle. Add lemon juice, parsley and champagne vinegar. Stir to combine. Slowly whisk in 6 tablespoons of olive oil.

Preheat your oven to 400F. Cut the bread into one inch pieces, and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about ten minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the beans and rinse well. Heat up a large saute pan on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add the beans. Let cook without stirring for five minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper and toss. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove the beans and add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add the toasted bread and cook until golden.

Combine the bread and the beans in a large bowl. Add the sliced celery and arugula and slowly drizzle on the caper vinaigrette. Top with about 2 tablespoons of bottarga right before serving.

Where I Shopped:
Bottarga, Capers: The Sausage Debauchery
I didn’t make it to the farmer’s market this weekend, so I shopped at Star Grocery in Berkeley. They stock organic, California-grown produce and Acme bread.

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Warm Sourdough Bread Salad with Chicken and Pine Nuts Recipe | Leite's Culinaria
March 21, 2012 at 7:01 am

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Nanette March 9, 2010 at 12:24 am

Happy Birthday gorgeous!
Each day is a gift bella so enjoy it to the fullest!
Stephen (husband) is on his way to San Fran tomorrow and is there for 10 days. No doubt he will be catching up with Chez Us, so feel free to pass on a bottle of your fabulous Limoncello!!

xx

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is March 9, 2010 at 3:38 am

Happy Birthday! THat salad looks absolutely incredible!

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Maria March 9, 2010 at 7:49 am

Happy Birthday! Love this salad. Enjoy your special day:)

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arugulove March 9, 2010 at 7:50 am

Wow, this looks so good. Happy Birthday!

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Dana March 9, 2010 at 8:13 am

Happy birthday Allison! Take it from an old lady – 31 is not old. :)

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Winnie March 9, 2010 at 9:33 am

31? That is NOT old. I am headed toward 40 so I know.
Happy Birthday and hope you have a great day…the salad looks fantastic, by the way!

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Allison Arevalo March 9, 2010 at 9:37 am

Thanks Winnie! I was feeling like a bit of a drama queen when I wrote this. I should stay away from blogging when I’m in one of those moods :)

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Janet Rudolph March 9, 2010 at 9:37 am

Happy Birthday! Can’t wait for the restaurant…

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Chez Us March 9, 2010 at 9:38 am

Happy Birthday! Old … well, I started feeling old when I turned 43, now that is old!

This dish sounds amazing …. even though I am not an anchovy lover, I would have to give this one a try.

Have a great day!

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Allison Arevalo March 9, 2010 at 9:45 am

I gotta say Denise, you don’t look a day older than 30. Must be the magical California sun! Thank you for the birthday wishes!

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heather @ chiknpastry March 9, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I’ll be 30 next month, and it’s not that I feel old, but i am definitely not excited about this birthday. bleh.

happy birthday tho! and have fun space-shopping!

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Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen March 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Happy Happy Birthday!!! Looks like a great meal! I hope it was an awesome day for you!

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The Food Hunter March 9, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Happy Happy!!!

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Annelle March 9, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Happy Birthday! Love your blog, pictures and RECIPES!

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Janet March 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Happy, happy birthday! What a nice gift your friend sent – and how delicious what you did with it!

My birthday (30th! Yes, feeling old!) falls on a Tuesday as well. I think I’ll celebrate for a week. :)

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Jacqui March 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm

A very Happy Birthday to you! This salad sound pretty amazing. I’m not old yet, but definitely have been feeling older now that kids/teens call me “lady.”

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Jennifer Hess March 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Wishing you a great birthday and a wonderful year – cheers!

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Patty March 9, 2010 at 6:51 pm

¡Feliz cumpleaños Allison! Must have been why I really wanted to post your awesome photo today. :)

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Darya March 9, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Thanks for the bottarga tip, been wondering where to find it. And happy bday!!!

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Erica March 10, 2010 at 6:58 am

Happy Birthday, Allison!!!! That salad looks delicious!

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bianca March 10, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Happy Birthday!…the salad ain’t bad either:)

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Angela@spinachtiger March 10, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Happy Birthday. Salted anchovies, capers, and bottarga. All that salty savory goodness is much better than cake. Congratulations on the restaurant goal. And, putting it out there for all the world to see is how to make it happen. Old at 31. I remember feeling that. But when you get to 41, you start feeling younger. You’ll see.

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dokuzuncubulut March 11, 2010 at 2:15 am

This is very healthy salad. I’m going to try…
Happy Birthday!

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sippitysup March 13, 2010 at 6:33 am

The salad with its roe is divine, but it’s the salt packed anchovies that makes me smile. It’s been years since I treated myself to a can (‘cuz they are so darn big) what brand did he choose? I think I need ti invest. GREG

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