With just a few ingredients, you can enjoy the luxury taste of salmon caviar in the comfort of your own home. Pick up some salmon roe (salmon eggs) from the store and let’s get started!
Any fancy Russian or Ukrainian dinner has to include an appetizer of ikra (caviar). Growing up, I used to eat the “poor man’s caviar”, or ikra, which is made out of eggplant instead of fish eggs. But, here in Seattle, fish eggs are abundant, cheap and extremely accessible. During salmon fishing season, I make it a point to snag roe whenever I can.
What is Caviar?
Simply put, caviar is a dish of salt-cured fish roe. At its finest, caviar is made out of the roe of mature sturgeon. However, sturgeon roe is extremely hard to find and very, very expensive. This is due to the fact that female sturgeon need to be around 10-years-old before they are ready to swim upstream and lay their eggs. Unfortunately, most of them have been caught and consumed before they reach this stage. Since sturgeon caviar is so hard to come by, many people opt for salmon caviar. It’s super delicious, much more easy on the wallet and very easy to make!
Note: For the sake of language, know that “caviar” is defined specifically as sturgeon roe. When using salmon roe to make caviar, you must call the dish “salmon caviar”. This distinction will be helpful when you are asking for what you need at the fish market!
How is Salmon Caviar Made?
The most difficult part about making caviar is removing the roe from the “skein”, or the sack that holds the eggs. The skein is delicate and so are the roe, so a bit of care is required to free the eggs from the sack.
First, you will place the roe sack in a colander and rinse it under warm water to remove the eggs from the membrane. Then, you will cure the eggs in salt water, drain them and dress them with a touch of oil. Just like that, you have salmon caviar!
What is the Traditional Way to Serve Salmon Caviar?
There are plenty of ways to serve salmon caviar, but the most traditional is spread atop a lightly buttered piece of toast. Other serving options include unsalted crackers (don’t buy salted, the caviar is salty enough!) or with Russian pancakes, or blini. As far as garnishes go, fresh herbs, sour cream, crumbled soft-boiled eggs or chopped white onions are all perfect complements.
Is Salmon Caviar Good for you?
Salmon caviar is ridiculously healthy for you. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon roe has proven itself a champion of great mental and physical health. Roe facilitates brain and eye development, while also improving your overall immune system. In fact, many women consume roe during pregnancy!
Tips for Making Salmon Caviar
- Use your hands when dealing with salmon roe. When finishing the roe with oil, dress it with your hands instead of a spoon or other utensil to prevent breaking the eggs.
- Use filtered water to cure your salmon roe. Unfiltered tap water contains chemicals that can affect the delicate flavor of salmon eggs.
Other Seafood Recipes to Try
- Rinse fresh caviar under hot water, to separate fish eggs from membranes.
- Eggs may change color when you are working with them under water, but will change back to the original color.
- Continue running eggs under water, to clean them all up.
- Combine hot water together with salt. Once the salt is dissolved, add salted water to the fish eggs and leave eggs soaking with salt water for 70 seconds.
- Strain out the water from eggs and place them in a glass jar, add oil to the eggs.
- You can keep them in a refrigerator for up to two weeks.