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Caviar is any salted fish roe. Although Russian sturgeon is the best in the world, it is incredibly expensive and the roe of many other fish is also quite tasty. In order of quality and price: salmon, cod, herring and lumpfish. I have had good luck with fresh water fish as well, especially "pickerel" or Wall-eyed Pike [and that's FREE!] Caviar is very perishable and should be kept refrigerated but never frozen. Canned caviar has been pasteurized but should be refrigerated as soon as it has been opened. Pasteurizing does affect taste and quality.
When preparing caviar dishes be careful not to bruise or break the eggs. Never allow caviar to be touched by metal spoons or to be served in metal bowls. Use wooden or plastic spoons and glass bowls.
All caviar should be served thoroughly chilled. The serving bowl is usually imbedded in ice. The classic presentation is to serve a bowl with fresh toast, either buttered or dry- just heap the caviar on toast and enjoy. Use ornamental strips, triangles or rounds of white or rye bread. Optional garnishes include lemon wedges, chopped hard boiled egg yolks, egg whites and onions. The best accompaniments are iced vodka or champagne.
For economy caviar, cream cheese and sour cream can be mixed into a spread. Caviar can also be used sparingly as a garnish for sour cream, white sauces or home made mayonnaise used to top blinis, cold salmon appetizers and other fish dishes. As well it makes an elegant topping for several canapes.
Caviar is never cooked but there are recipes using cooked fresh roe.
To prepare caviar from fresh roe: Remove the roe from VERY fresh fish. Tear the egg masses into small pieces and work them through a coarse sieve to free the eggs from the membranes. Soak the eggs in a brine of 1 cup pickling salt to 1 qt cold water for 20 minutes. Drain thoroughly, keeping it refrigerated while doing so. Store in an air tight, covered non-metal container for up to one month.
Submitted By JIM WELLER On 07-08-95