Karashi-Mentaiko/Spicy Pollock Roe in cream sauce over angel hair pasta
Hiroko, the woman I work with, told me she made her daughter’s favorite dish the other night because she won a Naginata championship. Katie is a champion in various Japanese marshal arts but Naginata is her absolute passion.
“So what’s Katie’s favorite dish” “Karashi Mentaiko, it’s spicy codfish roe in a cream sauce over angel hair pasta.” Now I did a full body spin around and said, “Wait, I love that dish. I order something like that at Typhoon, the hugely popular Japanese lounge in the E. Village. (which only recently is no longer)
Hiroko tells me the dish is so easy to make and it takes no time at all. Inspired by her instructions and her daughter’s taste buds I was determined to make the dish myself. Later that afternoon I joined Hiroko on her weekly grocery-shopping trip to Sunrise Mart, the Japanese specialty Mart in the E.Village, so she could show me exactly which codfish roe to use. It’s called Karashi-mentaiko in Japanese. For English-speaking-me: spicy Pollock roe. I paid $7.50 for a package with 2 large pieces/sacs of the Karashi-Mentaiko.
I was tripped up by one of the ingredients Hiroko used because I don’t typically cook with cream or milk for that matter. Then I thought to myself, I have fabulous whole milk yogurt from Trader Joes, I’m gonna try and make it with that.
If it weren’t for the somewhat tedious exercise of scraping the roe out of the very thin membrane sacks the roe is in and the 9-10 minutes it takes to cook dried spaghetti or 3-4 minutes for angel hair, this dish would honestly take no more than 5-6 minutes to prepare. A new SpecialD for sure
WHAT YOU’LL USE
1/4# – Angel hair or spaghetti – Use organic pasta that is made from semolina, whole durum wheat. I suggest no longer using enriched pasta.
2 sacks of spicy Pollack roe, (Karashi mentaiko or non spicy is called tarako)
2 T butter or olive oil
2 t Tamari or soy sauce – optional
2 T – cream or whole milk yogurt
Dried nori cut into thin strips, scallion slices, chiffonade shisho leaf, an edible leaf in the basil & mint family, alfalfa or radish sprouts
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
Bring 5-6 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil.
In a saucepan over a medium heat, add the olive oil or melt the butter, add the tamari or soy sauce. Turn the heat off and mix in the roe and whisk to break up any clumping of the roe.
At about this time the water should have come to a rolling boil. Add the desired amount of pasta and cook until your desired tenderness. If you’re using angel hair 3 minutes is perfect. If you’re using standard spaghetti, 9 – 10 minutes. Reserve at least 1/2 C of the cooking liquid. drain the pasta and add it to the pan of codfish roe sauce immediately – still dripping from the cooking liquid is fine . Stir in the sauce pan to coat the pasta well.
Place in bowls and garnish with any of the suggested toppings or anything you may choose or have around.
Enjoy. It’s Dlicious, it’s Dlightful, its Delctable.