One of the best dinners we’ve had so far this year was at La Madia in Sicily. One of the dishes there was Battutino di gambero rosso, maionese di bottarga di tonno e olio al mandarino.
This is what I wrote in my review: “Carpaccio of prawns, flattened into a perfect disc, served with a bottarga mayonnaise and mandarin olive oil. It was suggested to spread out the ‘mayo’, which we did, and it was a great combination with the prawns and didn’t overpower them. Great balance of flavors, although I may have liked a slightly ‘fresher’ taste.”
The type of prawns used in this dish is not available fresh in the Netherlands, but I love raw langoustines (scampi) that are locally caught. When I saw fresh langoustines at the market, I decided to create a dish that was inspired by the combination of flavors at La Madia. The result was an appetizer of langoustine tartare with mandarin zest infused olive oil, mandarin juice, bottarga, and mandarin. It was very nice as a small appetizer (amuse bouche). The flavors worked very well together, and I liked that it was ‘fresher’ than the dish at La Madia. The dried bottarga was not as smooth as the bottarga mayo at La Madia, but it was nice all the same.
Langoustines always look great on a plate, so I did a plating that was similar to a previous dish I created with langoustine tartare (with green apple). This dish is quite simple to make as long as you can find sushi grade langoustines (or sushi grade jumbo shrimp) and bottarga. Here’s what I did.
8 medium langoustines
3 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp bottarga
salt to taste
Wash the langoustines under cold running water. Take the meat out of the langoustines. Remove the ‘vein’. Wash the meat under the cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Chop into tartare. Reserve the four best looking heads with claws for garnish.
Add the juice of half of the mandarin. Season with salt and stir to mix. Taste and add some more salt and/or mandarin juice and/or bottarga if needed. Peel the other half of the other mandarin and break into individual segments (you will need 4). Remove as much of the white pith as you can.
Citrus goes well with riesling, and we enjoyed this with a nice riesling from Alto Adige. A good prosecco would also work.