Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Seafood

Caviar refers to the processed, often salted roe from the sturgeon family of fish[1][2]. Some vendors may label roe from other fish as caviar—however, this is technically incorrect.

Production edit

The production of caviar starts with the removal and grading of egg sacs from female sturgeon.[3] The sacs are sieved to separate out the eggs, which are then washed and seasoned with salt (about 4–6%) before packaging.[4][3] Some manufacturers will pasteurize the caviar to extend its shelf life.[4]

Particularly ripe or damaged eggs are typically used to make pressed caviar, a spreadable caviar paste with less oil and a stronger flavor.[3][4][5]

Characteristics edit

Caviar is categorized according to both sturgeon species and egg quality.[6] Beluga caviar are the largest variety, with a grey color.[3][6][7] The next-largest are osetra, which have a more golden-to-brown color,[6] and sevruga are the smallest, with a darker green or grey color.[3][6] Hackleback is a mild variety from the United States.[1] In terms of quality, the more expensive grade 1/A is the the best, with well-shaped whole eggs and excellent flavor. Grade 2/B is less aesthetically pleasing, with some broken or otherwise imperfect eggs, and it should be cheaper as a result.[1][2] Caviar with relatively low salt content is called "malassol".[6][7]

In terms of flavor, caviar is salty and reminiscent of the ocean without actually being fishy, much like fresh shellfish.[2][8] Some describe it as nutty.[1] The exact nuances of the flavor will depend both on the species of the sturgeon and the environment it is raised in.[8]

Selection and storage edit

The best way to assess caviar quality is by smell and taste. You want the flavor to be clean with a fresh aroma. The eggs should be whole, with a shiny moist appearance, and burst between your teeth when you bite down.[2][3][6] Fresh caviar should be stored at or just below 32°F (0°C), since the salt will prevent it from freezing at this temperature[3]—keeping it on ice in the refrigerator for 1–2 weeks is a good approach.[6] Pasteurized caviar is shelf-stable until opening, after which is should be treated the same way as fresh.[3][7] In general, you should purchase caviar in small quantities and consume as soon as possible.[6]

Use edit

Caviar is commercially marketed throughout the world as a delicacy and is eaten principally in very small amounts as a garnish or spread.[2][6] Simple crackers or blini are common accompaniments, though some will eat caviar on its own.[3] Generally, nonmetal utensils and dishes are used in order to avoid giving an off taste to the caviar.[6][7]

Recipes edit

References edit

  1. a b c d "What Is Caviar?". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2024-02-16.
  2. a b c d e "What to Know About Caviar Before Buying It" (in en). Kitchn. 
  3. a b c d e f g h i America, Culinary Institute of; Ainsworth, Mark (2009-02-04). Kitchen Pro Series: Guide to Fish and Seafood Identification, Fabrication and Utilization. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1-4354-0036-8.
  4. a b c "Sturgeons (Acipenseriformes)". Retrieved 2024-02-16.
  5. Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  6. a b c d e f g h i j Labensky, Sarah R.; Hause, Alan M.; Martel, Priscilla (2018-01-18). On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. Pearson. ISBN 978-0-13-444190-0.
  7. a b c d Gisslen, Wayne (2014-04-15). Professional Cooking. Wiley. ISBN 978-1-118-63672-5.
  8. a b "What Is Caviar?". WebstaurantStore. Retrieved 2024-02-16.