What comes to mind when you hear the word “caviar?” Expensive? Fancy? For those of you who aren’t Baltic Sea fishermen or members of a country club, caviar is salt-cured fish eggs. Traditionally, caviar strictly referred to the eggs of wild-caught sturgeon, but those days are over. The sturgeon that managed to survive the latest ice age have had a hard time surviving humanity, and producers have been forced to move away from unsustainable, wild-caught caviar to look for alternatives. Now caviar includes farm-raised eggs from osetra, white fish, and even salmon, among many more.
Controversial due to its environmental effects, the caviar industry is in the midst of a reformation. Farmers have found success by cultivating different breeds of sturgeon as well as other species of fish. Farm-grown now rivals wild-caught as caviar goes green, moving away from the overfishing that almost led to a species’ extinction. Try adding some cultured dairy to your sustainable caviar, and thank us later.
The classiest of sustainable sturgeon caviar, much like its wild-caught predecessor. Medium sized eggs with a gray-green hue provide a nice pop and all the buttery, nutty flavor caviar is famous for. Formerly an exclusively Russian export, osetra are now farmed sustainably from Northern Israel to the Pacific Northwest—try the Seattle Caviar Company’s Osetra. Here, we look to a quintessential caviar companion in crème fraîche: These briny bubbles love the cultured cream.
White Sturgeon Caviar
Potatoes and caviar: that’s what Idaho does. Known for its large beads and a firmer texture than most traditional styles, the Idaho white sturgeon produces the premier domestic farmed caviar. It’ll melt in your mouth with creaminess and a pure salt finish. Best matched with soft, lush cheeses to complement the brine and enhance the buttery notes.
+ white sturgeon caviar
+ white sturgeon caviar
“Red caviar” is a great gateway into the caviar world. Ikura tastes less like traditional caviar and more like the salmon it comes from. This bubbly roe has a fantastic pop, is low on brine, and easier on the wallet. A powerful cheese plays well in making a more complex bite. The safe choice is chèvre on a rye cracker topped with a bit of ikura; For the more adventurous, try a sake-washed, spreadable cheese from Japan.
ON THE MENU AT Waypoint Cambridge, MA
The “Caviar Bump” at Chef Michael Scelfo’s Waypoint in Cambridge, Massachusetts is a savory donut hole stuffed with buttermilk yogurt and a generous scoop of Royal Osetra.