Karasumi, also known as “Japanese Bottarga”, is salted and dried mullet roe. Karasumi is considered one of the three Chimnis (best food delicacies) in Japan along with sea urchin roe and salted sea cucumber innards. Although somewhat expensive, karasumi has a strong taste and you don’t need to use much to flavor a dish.
Karasumi can be eaten like caviar, or it can be used as an ingredient in other dishes. It’s often used to make onigiri (rice balls), ochazuke (tea flavored rice broth), or in pasta.
This dish is both simple and elegant, using cream based sauce with karasumi mixed in and then topped with Japanese nori (pressed seaweed) and fresh shiso leaves. If you cannot find karasumi you can substitute other types of roe such as sea urchin, tobiko or mentaiko – but you will need to use more because karasumi has a strong taste. It also has a slightly cheesy taste, so you don’t need to add cheese to this pasta.
Try this recipe and you might be surprised at how elegant and tasty it is, especially considering that you can whip it up in less than 15 minutes.