.

I’m pretty sure the first time I had caviar was at a wedding. It was years before I ate it again. I was in the lobby of an opera house in Budapest during intermission. There I encountered an incredible spread of elegant hors d’oeuvres, many topped with Russian caviar. I drank a Soviet version of Champagne and felt very posh. It left a more memorable impression than hearing Carmen sung in Hungarian!

According to the dictionary, caviar is the processed salted roe of large fish, typically sturgeon. Sturgeon take 10 years to reach reproductive age and are in danger of extinction in the wild. While Russian caviar is most well-known, I’m going to focus on American caviar since it is more sustainable, readily available and less expensive. American caviar was once a huge industry. In the early 19th century caviar was harvested so heavily in the United States that sturgeon almost disappeared completely. 

Recently American caviar has made a return. Today sturgeon are farmed by companies like Tsar Nicoulai outside of Sacramento, California. Their products are free from mercury found in large fish in the wild, and their production takes pressure off the wild population. While caviar is synonmous with luxury, salmon roe, trout roe, whitefish and tobiko (flying fish roe) are even more economical options than the classic sturgeon and are all very delicious. You can find seven varieties from Tsar Nicoulai at Whole Foods Market. No matter which you choose it is a splurge, so consider it for New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day (brunch!) Valentine’s Day, birthdays or anniversaries. 
Different grades of caviar are going to have slightly different flavors and textures. Tsar Nicoulai’s most expensive caviar is their Reserve Caviar, the individual beads are creamier in texture and mild flavored. Their California Estate Caviar is my personal favorite. It tastes like the ocean and has a firmer texture. Tsar Nicoulai’s Classic Sturgeon Caviar is the least expensive, but has a brinier, fishier flavor and a brighter acidity. 
Salmon caviar has large juicy salty beads, other deliciously enhanced varieties to consider included smoked trout roe and truffled whitefish roe. 
Have you ever wondered why mother-of-pearl spoons are used with caviar? It’s because they will not alter the flavor. A plastic spoon is fine too. Caviar is delicious on its own, or served traditionally with blini, but there are lots of other ways to enjoy it. Once you open a container be sure to use within 24-48 hours.

Here are a few ways to enjoy caviar or roe:

* Top deviled eggs with caviar
* Use on savory corn, potato or crab cakes
* Dollop caviar on an omelet or scrambled eggs 
* Serve caviar on sliced raw sea scallops
* Decorate a smoked salmon and cream cheese dip with caviar
* Add caviar to pasta with shellfish such as lobster, crab or shrimp 
* Serve it on potato or vegetable chips with or without sour cream or creme fraiche
* Fold caviar into hollandaise sauce and serve on eggs, asparagus or on poached seafood
* Use caviar on slices of cucumber or baby potatoes 
* Top raw or cooked oysters with caviar

* On top of steak tartare


Disclaimer: My thanks to Whole Foods Market for hosting a caviar tasting and providing me with samples. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post. 

.

DISCLAIMER: This image is provided only for personal use. If you found any images copyrighted to yours, please contact us and we will remove it. We don't intend to display any copyright protected images.

Leave a Reply

Walnut Crusted Chicken Breast – It’s all About the Nut Glue

I almost never order a nut-crusted entrée in a restaurant, since they usually use a sugary glaze to hold them on, and/or feature a too sweet nut, like pecan, or macadamia. That’s not an issue here; since we’re going with buttery, subtly bitter walnuts, held on with a very savory […]

Cheddar, Potato & SPAM® Soup

Cheddar, Potato & SPAM® Soup A hearty, comforting and autumnal warming soup!  Perfect soup for all the family!  SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham is the perfect quick and easy meat for a soup.  Serves 4-6 Prep time:  5 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients 450g potatoes, peeled & diced 150g carrots, […]

5-Minute Fisherman’s Stew – Give or Take

Of course this Fisherman’s Stew takes more than five minutes to make, and I’m actually referring to the approximate cooking time once the seafood hits the pan, but as they say, it’s only false advertising if someone else does it. Besides, one taste and I’m sure you’ll forgive any temporal […]

Pear Clafoutis – Almost as Good as it Looks

It sounds odd to say that a recipe’s biggest problem is that it looks too good, but that’s sort of the case with this pear clafoutis. Through no fault of its own, this crust-less, custard fruit tart looks a lot sweeter, and richer than it actually is. So, please be […]

Bloody Mary Burrata – An Experiment in Liquefying Salads

I don’t think there’s actually a difference between a liquid salad, and a cold vegetable soup, but if there is, I’d like this Bloody Mary Burrata recipe to be considered the former. Especially since I already posted a gazpacho this summer. But regardless of what you call this strange hybrid, […]

Crispy Butcher’s Nuggets – Parts is Parts

While our homemade butcher’s nuggets won’t feature the same diversity of meat parts as the butcher shop, at least they won’t feature the same diversity of meat parts. Seriously, those folks will put anything into a sausage or meatball. All kidding aside, these crispy fried meatballs will have you wondering […]

Skippy® Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes

Skippy® Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes These light and fluffy peanut butter pancakes drizzled with peanut butter and jelly taste absolutely delicious.  The favourite, classic sandwich turned into the tastiest breakfast treat! Serves 4 Prep time:  10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients For the pancakes 200g plain flour 30g caster […]

All About Walnut Oil from La Tourangelle

La Tourangelle is a family-owned company that produces outstanding nut and seed oils, with heritage in the Loire Valley of France, an area known for nut oils. Their toasted sesame, roasted walnut, roasted peanut and roasted pistachio oils are all award winners. The company began in 2002 in Woodland, California […]

Chef John is On Vacation and More

That’s right! I’m on vacation for the rest of the week, and the beginning of the next, which usually means a lot of rest and relaxation, but not this time. That’s because Michele and I are going to be working harder than ever on a major, top secret personal project. […]

Chorizo, Red Pepper & Stilton Quiche

Chorizo, Red Pepper & Stilton Quiche This quiche is so easy to make and always goes down well, delicious served hot or cold. If blue cheese doesn’t take your fancy then you can use cheddar or any other hard cheese. Serves 8 Prep time:  10 minutes, Cooking time: 45-50 minutes Ingredients 225g […]