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Caviar for newbies


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I am using, for the first time in my culinary career, caviar in my appetizers for the Super Bowl. It's Tobikko black pearl, wild-caught, flavored with wasabi, and I'd guess it's about a two-ounce jar. I think I paid somewhere around $16 for it at my local culinary and gourmet store.

What I discovered, in topping two dozen tiny new potatos, cut in half and dabbed with creme fraiche, with a dab of caviar, is that caviar goes a LONG way. I used well less than half the caviar topping the potatos. So I have two questions, being that I won't have an occasion to make copious quantities of hors d'ouevres again for some period of time.

1. How long will caviar, now that it's been opened, keep in the refrigerator?

2. What are some good uses for it as an ingredient in a main course? It has a noticeable, but not overpowering, flavor of wasabi. I first sampled it with cream cheese and smoked salmon on a toast point, and that was excellent, but I'd love to showcase it in an entree.

My apologies if there's already a caviar topic; I looked and didn't see one.

Don't ask. Eat it.


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Yes on the topping for deviled eggs - a classic.

My number-one tip for people that are just trying to start using caviar is to rinse it a bit at first. Don't do that with good caviar, of course, but try it with the cheap stuff until you become accustomed to the taste. After you develop a fondness for it, that strong, salty flavor that gets largely washed away with rinsing will become your favorite part. You're not supposed to let metal touch the caviar (hence the popularity for mother-of-pearl spoons to serve it with), so if you try the rinsing thing, be sure to use paper towels, or some other non-mental device, to strain it.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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What to do with caviar depends on what caviar it is.

You say that you bought Tobiko. This is flying fish caviar - it is much smaller (less than 1/2 mm), and has a very mild flavour. The whole point of this is the appearance and the texture - these look like tiny little glistening red pearls with a pronounced pop when you bite into them. As you say, these can be flavoured with Wasabi. These are usually used in sushi - the rice is rolled in tobiko, or it is used as a topping for the sushi, or it is sprinkled around to give some texture. I have also used tobiko as a garnish for fish, and it can even be used in a white sauce. Make up a normal bechamel, allow to cool to 50C, and mix in the tobiko immediately before serving.

Salmon caviar is larger - about 3-4mm in diameter. It is pink, has a mild flavour, You can use it as a garnish (goes well with fish and oysters), or you can eat it on a blini with smoked salmon, dill, capers, etc.

Lumpfish caviar is more expensive. It is black, and about 1 mm in diameter. These are more intensely flavoured and should be served in traditional caviar service - 1/3 caviar, 1/3 chopped hard boiled egg, 1/3 chopped shallots, on an elegant plate with trimmed toast on the side.

Sturgeon caviar is the most expensive of all, and I would not dream of serving it any other way other than the traditional way.

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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From a historical viewpoint, what you have is not 'caviar'.


From a practical viewpoint what you have is not anywhere near what true caviar tastes like.

The description, "black pearl, wild caught" is meaningless, 'black pearl' means nothing as it is dyed black and all tobikko is 'wild caught'.

Tobbiko is an really an edible adornment for sushi applications.

Sturgeon caviar has become so profitable that much of what's available is really unregulated and unless you purchase from one of the premier suppliers at great expense, what you get is probably substandard, illegal or from prohibited waters.

Sterling Caviar farms sturgeon for caviar, the quality is excellent and prices are what they are.

If you want to work with 'caviar' you might order some and try it.




Edited by budrichard (log)
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"My number-one tip for people that are just trying to start using caviar is to rinse it a bit at first. Don't do that with good caviar, of course, but try it with the cheap stuff until you become accustomed to the taste. "

Salted fish roe comes one ot two ways, heavily salted requiring no refrigeration and 'malossol', lightly salted requiring refrigeration.

The former is what I believe you are referring to when you reccamend rinsing. Actually, heavily salted fish roe has its uses but not as a caviar substitute.

Lightly salted fish roe requiring refrigeration is the only type one should purchase and use.-Dick

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If you're a newbie, as am I, and you can get over to San Francisco, there's a great caviar bar in the Ferry Building. They offer sampler plates, tastings, and some education. I've only been a couple of times, but enjoyed it both times.


 ... Shel


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