A few years ago, my friend Allegra spent a semester abroad in Japan and one of the things she brought back with her was a strange looking foil packet of Mentaiko. “It’s cod roe pasta” she said. “It’s really delicious!” Of course, I was suspicious of anything fishy that squeezes out of a packet and onto pasta, but I humored her one late (ahem…drunken) evening. And Christ was it delicious! I don’t want to describe it as fishy because that may deter you, but the taste is quite salty and the little balls cling tightly to the strands of spaghetti (you must use spaghetti).
I had forgotten about the cod roe pasta entirely until I found myself at a 7/11 in Tokyo and saw a shiny bright package of pasta with a picture of weird pink sauce and seaweed flakes. That’s it! A fluent speaker friend of mine had to come up with Japanese name for me, but there it was and I went in search of a restaurant that would serve it to me. But I picked up a few packets (by few, I mean 10) of the stuff to take home with me.
This is just one of those things that you’re going to have to trust me on. I’ve seen Mentaiko packets at the small Japanese market Midoriya in Williamsburg on Bedford and N. 9 (Betcha didn’t know there was a Japanese market in Williamsburg….now you do!). I bet they have them at Sunrise Mart or M2M also.
The packet looks like this:
This pasta is actually the perfect week night meal because you literally just add the paste to pasta and stir. I’m including the recipe so that you’ll believe me.
(Also comes in the extremely delicious spicy variety)
You will need:
Spaghetti (whole wheat might be nice)
1 packet Mentaiko with seaweed included
1. Boil water, add pasta and cook until al-dente.
2. Add Mentaiko and stir in the hot pot you used to boil the water (this dish is best piping hot). Sprinkle the seaweed flakes on top.