Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

boutargue the French, and most widely used, name for a product consisting of the eggs of grey mullet, removed in their intact membrane, salted, pressed, dried in the sun, and covered with a protective coat of wax. The name comes from post-classical Greek oiotarikhon, literally ‘egg pickle’, by way of Coptic, Arabic (batarikh), and Italian (bottarga). Wall-paintings show that something like boutargue was already known to ancient Egypt, but its name in Egyptian is unknown. Its current popularity in Tunisia is witness that knowledge of boutargue was spread around the Mediterranean by Arabs in medieval times.