Fish roe is probably the closesta normal person will get totasting authentic caviar fromsturgeon caught exclusivelyfrom the Black and CaspianSeas, which is salted andtinned before exporting togourmet stores andrestaurants throughout theworld. Not only are Beluga,Sterlet, Ossetra and Sevrugacaviars extremely expensive,they’re quite difficult to comeby and in the case of Beluga,it is illegal in some countries toimport and sell because thevariety of sturgeon thatproduces it is highlyendangered. These are the factors that make caviar reach up to 1,600 dollars per100 grams but still make it a widely sought after delicacy for the wealthy gourmet.Fortunately for the rest of the world who cannot spend perhaps a month’s salary ona tiny tin of real caviar, there’s the more reasonably priced roe which technicallyspeaking is the same thing–fish eggs from other kinds of fish like salmon, herring andcod. Other sea creatures whose roe are also consumed include sea urchin andcrab.Though the discriminating gourmet and Michelin-star awarded chef may frown oncalling any other types of fish eggs as caviar, most do not mind this more lenientnomenclature. Consuming it sometimes makes a diner feel that he or she is tastingsomething very high class though it can actually just be a usual everyday ingredientin common cuisine.
A restaurant has to be careful in crafting dishes with roe and calling it caviar sincethere is a level of expectation attached to it. However, it is pretty much understoodthat if “caviar” is a component in common cocktails or dishes in a restaurant otherthan an expensive fine dining restaurant, then most likely that is just roe. But thatdoesn’t mean it’s less delicious!Roe recipes are actually more varied because the ingredient is not at all expensiveand as such lend itself to a lot of applications. Many countries have different waysof preparing and consuming it raw or cooked usually with very simple ingredientsand procedure. Most coastal areas consume it fresh with a splash of lemon juice. Itcan also be salted and cured and consumed as a condiment or spread. Japanand Korea use a variety from different kinds of fish to make into sushi.When buying fresh roe, look for a bright orange color for the salmon variety. It shouldhave a pleasant odor of the sea and not watery which indicates the individual eggshave been broken. It is sold as individual eggs for bigger fish species while others arevery tiny and still come in the fishes’ ovarian membrane which may or may not beremoved prior to preparation and consumption. Avoid soggy, specimens with anunpleasant off odor. Because it is highly perishable, try to use it right away or store inthe freezer for only a month or two and in the refrigerator for only a couple days.Visit us @www.gourmetrecipe.com