This is my attempt to recreate the 'nduja clams I had at Bestia in Los Angeles last year. The dish was astounding - meaty, briny and piquant, its powerful ingredients sang in harmony. Long after the clams had been eaten we were dipping our fingers into the leftover sauce and licking them until there was nothing left. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to ask the waitress what the ingredients were. I would never have guessed it contained preserved lemon as it was added so sparingly - just enough to lift the sauce, not enough to make itself overtly known.
Every time I make this dish I'm bowled over again by how beautifully the clams and 'nduja work together, with the help of a little lemon. The flavours are genius - if you like bold tastes I couldn't recommend this more highly.
Mentaiko is a new obsession. The ones I can find in New York come from Japanese or Korean speciality food stores and are whiting roes cured in salt, Korean red chilli flakes and a little ground sesame seed. I believe you can also find cod or pollock roes cured in the same way but I'm not sure if you can taste any difference in the type of fish used.
I like to eat them as a snack, membrane and all, cut into chunks and seasoned with a little yuzu or lemon juice and a few grind of fine white pepper. They are very salty though so not everyone would agree.
For the less salt-addicted among us these mildly spicy, briny eggs make a fantastic sauce for pasta, creating a Japanese spin on spaghetti alla bottarga.