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Old 11-09-2007, 07:30 AM   #1
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American Caviar

Ok, so I've always wanted to try caviar, but could never justify spending $70 for a 1 oz. tin of it. Wegmans is now selling American caviar for much cheaper...$13 - $40.

My question is, is American Caviar even close to as good as the "real" thing? The varieties the store offers are: Paddlefish, Salmon, Sturgeon, and Hackleback.

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Old 11-09-2007, 07:39 AM   #2
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Probably not but unless you are going to be serving it to someone who knows the difference, buy some and try it. There is no way I will ever be able to justify buying top shelf caviar (and isn't the practice of harvesting not eco-friendly??), but every so often I get the stuff my local supermarket sells. Still bursts and tastes salty and I quite like it. It may not be the best there is but it suits my pocket and therefore my tastebuds will live with it. The Australian stuff lasts a fair while in the fridge toboot!

It is divine over fresh oysters with a bit of cream and smoked salmon, with just a little squeeze of lemon.
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:41 AM   #3
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Country of origin is probably not a major factor. The "good" stuff is sturgeon caviar. The stuff you mentioned is less costly because it's from different fish which are probably farm raised.

It's worth giving it a try to determine if you even like it.
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:37 AM   #4
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I've enjoyed some very good caviar from Tsar Nikoulai. Tho that doesn't sound like it, it's a California company, and it IS American caviar. I would definitely recommend it.

I would caution staying away from that stuff they sell in jars in the supermarket, tho. That is doctored up with tons of dye. If you rinse either the black or the white, you will be appalled.
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Old 11-09-2007, 10:50 AM   #5
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DEFINITELY try it!!!!! Just like with wine, different types of caviar appeal to different tastes. And also just like with wine, there's frankly nothing worse than a "caviar snob", so do not take the so-often offered advice that the only worthwhile product has to come from overseas. It's simply not true.

I've been enjoying caviar of all types for over 30 years now. In fact, I remember when the illustrious "Caviarteria" was nothing but a tiny little storefront shop on a midtown Manhattan backstreet, with a warehouse in Queens. You could sneeze & miss it, & they packed the caviar into little tins from huge barrels. Now they have a chain of champagne & caviar bars in major cities across the country.

Anyway - back to your original question. American Caviar is what I've been purchasing for the past 10 years, once the imported situation just became too volatile. Between the politics & the environmental/conservation issues, the imported varieties just went against my sensibilities (& my wallet). Not to mention that I was more than pleasantly surprised to find American varieties just as good, if not even better!!

I've had Paddlefish, Hackleback, Sturgeon, Trout, & Salmon on a fairly regular basis, & have been proud to serve all of them to guests as well. I also use Capelin, Lumpfish, Whitefish, & Flying Fish Roe in recipes (particularly Asian) quite successfully. (Inexpensive red & black Lumpfish caviar makes a lovely "checkerboard" presentation atop sour cream on halved very tiny baby potatoes. . . )

My advice to you - as with wine - is to just jump right in & start tasting. Keep notes as to what you like & don't like about each one, keeping in mind that different suppliers will also have both different qualitities & tastes depending on where the roe is from & how it's been handled.

Gee - can you tell I love caviar? Lol!!
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Old 11-09-2007, 11:46 AM   #6
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Very good advice, Thanks!
Since this will be my first time with caviar, what do you suggest I try it with? Should I put it ontop of something, or just eat it plane straight from the tin? Also, I understand you're not supposed to use traditional silverware...what should I use instead?
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Old 11-09-2007, 12:37 PM   #7
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as stated, you won't know if you like something if you don't try it.

i've had the red and black lumpfish eggs that breezy mentioned, as well as flying fish row. both are delicious.

the salmon roe, imo, is akin to chunky mucus. i used it a lot as trout and catfish bait when i was a kid. the eggs were stored in some horrible smelling liquid in little jars, so when i tried the salmon eggs sushi style (ikura), i guess i subconsciously recalled that smell.

i would try it on toast or water crakers first. many types of roe have a strong flavor.
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Old 11-09-2007, 12:55 PM   #8
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Buckytom - when I buy Salmon caviar (or Trout caviar, which is very similar to the Salmon), I buy it fresh/tinned rather than jarred. It's quite a different experience. That's why I recommend trying what different vendors have to offer. Something you hated from one, you might really like from another. The packaging/preservation & handling methods, as well as the source, make a big difference. Salmon eggs jarred for bait are a far cry from what's packaged for human consumption.

Unless I'm using caviar in a specific recipe, my (& my husband's) favorite method of consumption is considered fairly sacreligious, but what the heck - we like it, lol!! I serve it straight from the tins/jars alongside stacks of "Stone Wheat Crackers" (regular - not the low sodium) & tubs of whipped Philadelphia-brand cream cheese. A cracker, a schmeer, & a dollop of caviar. Yum. This is our favorite Xmas Eve & New Year's Eve snack.

I don't go for the usual "toast points, egg yolk, minced onion" stuff. Do like the cream cheese because it's rich & mild at the same time, cutting the saltiness of the eggs while letting the flavor come thru without impeding it, although the vast majority of caviar I order is "malassol", which means minimal salt. At the same time you still have the option of just topping a cracker with caviar without the cheese if you wish.

I use plain stainless steel implements - one for the caviar; one for the cream cheese so we're not spoiling one with the other. The reason silver isn't recommended is because it can react with the eggs & give an unpleasant taste.
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:04 PM   #9
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Chave... listen to Breezy. She's a real Caviar-lover!

I like it any way I can get it, but I enjoy serving a dab on top of deviled eggs, or roasting tiny potatoes, cutting off their tops when done and adding a topping of caviar.

I also have a specialty of Avocado and Caviar "Pie" that is really decadent and delicious that I love to make for special occasions (it's got to be special because it's so durned expensive!) I've made many for clients over the years when I was catering.

If you don't have the classic mother of pearl spoon, you are best off to use plastic or a wooden tongue depressor. metal will give Caviar an unappealing, tinny taste.
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Old 11-11-2007, 07:49 AM   #10
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Paddlefish is very good, and closely resembles oesetra in flavour. Caviar is traditionally served with mother of pearl utensils. Wood is a preferred second choice.
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