I first learned about Mentaiko from Cheesie’s blog. Her obsession with Mentaiko is rather endearing and this entry made me chuckle and envious at the same time. Since then I’ve been seeing Mentaiko everywhere on blogs and restaurant menus. Lately though, Mentaiko Pasta seems to be all the craze around here and after seeing yet another blog about this dish, I’ve decided to give in to the temptations and cook it myself.
Also called Karashi Mentaiko, the cod (or pollock, really) roe is salted and flavored with Japanese chili pepper (togarashi). The flavour is unique, reminiscent of the taste of sea, and most definitely umami. If you like anchovies or other salted fish variety, you would surely love this dish. In fact, most people around me have been waxing lyrical about it.
There are many versions of Mentaiko Pasta. Some come with a sauce, while others were served more Aglio olio style. As I was in the mood to over-indulge, I thought that I might as well go slightly OTT and pair it with a butter and cream sauce. It could be worse, you know. I could have added a poached egg, or wine. Hehe. In all seriousness though, this is so good I actually licked the plate clean (sorry for the bad visual… but I was eating at home and noone could see!). Not many dishes can do that to me.
Best thing is, this only took less than 15 minutes! This has to be one of the most delicious things you can make with that amount of time. It’s so unbelievably easy there’s only 2-step process involved. Ok. 3 if you count the sautéed mushrooms.
1 serving of Spaghetti
1 sac of Mentaiko
Some Mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon Shoyu
1 tablespoon of Kewpie Mayonnaise
1/8 cup of Thickened Cream
1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
Roasted Nori (Seaweed), cut into strips, or get the shredded ones
Cook the pasta according to packet’s instruction in salty water until al dente.
To make the sauce, make the cut on the sac and squeeze all the roe out, and mix with Shoyu, Mayonnaise Cream and Butter. Sauté the mushrooms in butter and add to the sauce.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain well and add to the sauce to mix. Let it sit for up to a minute to absorb some of the sauce. Garnish with Nori before serving.
I could have this everyday. Actually I did have it two days in the row but I ran out of Spaghetti for day three so I had Mentai Gohan instead. Cholesterol? What’s that?!
Well excuse me now, as I need to look for my running shoes.