What is caviar? I always wondered how to serve caviar. When I was young, every time I asked Mom to buy something for me she would say “You have caviar taste”. I always related “caviar” to the answer “No” answer which was most of the time. It wasn’t that Mom did not want to buy these things for me; we simply did not have the money. Relating caviar to my answer, I did not care to know about caviar because I figured I did not have the money to buy it anyway.
What is caviar? After I got older I did hear a few people talk of eating fish eggs which they explained was caviar but they never mentioned how to serve caviar. Honestly, that did not sound too good to my appetite. I certainly could not figure that this was something expensive to purchase but back then even the simple luxuries of today were considered “too expensive or unnecessary”.
So, what is caviar? Well, it has only been in recent years that I decided to find out the real answer to this question. Caviar is salted fish eggs or fish roe as it is called. This is not as simple as it sounds. Everyone that told me they tried caviar actually did not try the “real thing”. The “real thing” or “true caviar” comes only from sturgeon, primarily Beluga, Osetra and Sevruga sturgeons. Caviar coming from sturgeon is considered to be the best and is more expensive than the others.
When I figured out how to serve caviar I set out to buy some. Like my friends, I could not find the real stuff. I suppose if you are in a big city like New York you might be able to find it in a gourmet shop but probably the best way to purchase it is ordering online. What I purchased was made from salmon and whitefish eggs. It is called caviar but when it is not the true caviar the package has to list the fish which the eggs come from. I found even this “unreal” caviar is not easy to find and is still pretty expensive; the price being from $6.00 to $14.00 for two ounce jars. Most stores which I visited only carried one type and only 2 jars per store so it was pretty difficult to gather what I needed.
What is caviar in comparison to fish eggs? Many people refer to even fresh fish eggs as caviar. Fresh fish eggs are just that; “fish eggs” or “fish roe”. The fish eggs are cured with salt to make caviar. Many chefs who have access to fresh fish eggs like to make their own caviar. They break open the “egg sacks” and separate the eggs from the membrane. Some rub the sacs over wire mesh which has holes large enough for the eggs to drop through. Then the eggs are allowed to marinate for a day or two in a salt water solution; sometime with other ingredients added like vodka or lemon juice. This is one of the techniques are learn when learning what is caviar.
How to serve caviar? What is caviar in the cooking world? Caviar is a delicacy. Most people prefer not to eat it alone as in a spoon. It goes well with cream cheese; a little cheese spread on crackers or small toast topped with a few of the eggs. Caviar is mostly used as a garnish and in special holiday recipes. Appetizers which include caviar are especially nice for celebration parties like New Years Eve.
What is caviar mostly used for? Recipes like these below:
This pinwheel appetizer recipe is not only delicious but makes a wonderful presentation for a special party or other special occasion. The base is made of bread which I used a basic Italian bread recipe which was very much like the peasants used to make. The recipe is below.
Cut loaf horizontally to make a ¾ to 1 inch base for the appetizer.
Place base on a platter or board; spread with a thin layer of butter.
Beat half of cream cheese until creamy; beat in blue cheese and pepper.
Spread blue cheese mixture evenly over buttered bread.
In a medium bowl beat remaining half of cream cheese with mayonnaise.
Mark top of cheese topped bread into 8 pie sections. (I used a ruler to measure and to mark.
With pastry bag pipe cheese mayonnaise mixture to divide pinwheel.
Fill 4 alternate sections with sliced olives; fill 2 opposite sections with red caviar and remaining opposites with black caviar.
NOTE: I messed up the first piping when I put in the caviar because the red was runny. After I placed all the caviar and olives on the pinwheel, I piped the mixture again on top of the first.
NOTE: You could substitute the red caviar with drained red pimentos and the black caviar with chopped black olives.
Place yeast and sugar in a bowl; add the water.
Stir in salt and 2 cups flour; continue stirring in flour to make a soft ball.
Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead well.
Place dough in a greased bowl; cover and let rise until double in bulk about 2 hours.
Punch dough down and let rise again until double.
Shape dough into a round loaf about 10 inches. (I flatten the dough in a greased 10 inch spring form pan.
Let dough rise until doubled.
While dough is rising PREHEAT oven to 425F degrees; PLACE OVEN RACK in center of oven.
PLACE PAN HOT WATER on bottom rack of oven.
Bake bread about 30 minutes or until bread is browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Cool completely before cutting and finishing the appetizer.
Drain red caviar; set aside.
Beat two packages cream cheese; lemon juice, onion and Worcestershire until light and fluffy.
Shape cheese mixture on a plate about 4 inches in diameter and about 2 inches thick.
Make a circle on top center with salmon caviar about 1 ½ inches.
Cover remaining top and sides area with the black whitefish caviar.
To decorate, beat additional cream cheese until smooth.
Pipe additional cream cheese around circle of salmon caviar and around top edge of the appetizer.
Serve with crackers or toast.
NOTE: Cream cheese used to decorate must be soft and smooth. If too firm it will not stick to the black caviar; instead the caviar sticks to the piping tip.
What is caviar served with clams? It is delicious!
In a large saucepan (Stainless steel) combine clams, green onion, thyme and wine.
Cover saucepan and cook over high until clams open about 8 minutes.
Remove clams from liquid and place in a bowl; strain the liquid reserving 1 ½ teaspoons of the liquid.
Remove the empty half shell from each clam.
In a small bowl combine the cream, lemon juices, chives and the reserved liquid.
Fold the caviar into the mixture; season with salt and pepper.
Line a serving platter with green leaves; arrange clams in the half shell on top of the bed of greens.
Immediately before serving spoon the caviar cream over each clam; garnish with grated lemon peel.
What is caviar with sweet potatoes? A fabulous pancake with a unique flavor.
Boil potato chunks in lightly salted water until tender; drain potatoes and return to the pan.
Add honey and 4 tablespoons of the butter; mash with mixer until smooth.
Combine the milk and eggs and stir into the potatoes.
In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper; add to the potato mixture.
Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter in large skillet.
Spoon rounded tablespoons of potato mixture into skillet; flatten slightly forming 2 inch round pancakes.
Brown cakes on one side and then turn over to brown on other about 1 minute on each side.
Transfer potato pancakes to a large tray and repeat process with remaining batter making 32 pancakes.
To serve stack 4 pancakes on each of 8 small plates; top with a dollop of sour cream and a small spoon of caviar.