"For the uninitiated, caviar can be intimidating. The glistening beads of salt-cured roe are often associated with mother-of-pearl spoons, fancy bottles of champagne, and multiple dollar signs. While caviar can definitely be filed under special-occasion food, it can be much more than that: it’s also a muse for creatively lavish and even homestyle dishes. Los Angeles chefs have been playfully utilizing the prized eggs in their culinary creations, from smearing them across buttery banana pancakes to serving them alongside Thai-spiced chicharrones. Some are even collaborating with producers to exclusively custom-cure their own caviar."
It's that time of year again! November and December mark the time of year when nearly 75% of all the caviar sold worldwide is consumed. There will be numerous articles popping up over the next two months guiding consumers through the complex world of roe and caviar. Sometimes we even get sneak-peaks and recipes directly from the chefs who work hard to make the product more accessible. Diving into these caviar buying tips, and the latest culinary applications, can really help open up new doors for caviar lovers while getting others who think "caviar is not for me" to reconsider their position on the delicacy. As we work to bring more great roe products to customers this holiday season, let's take a deeper look at some of the information and unique usages the article above presents.
Caviar Does Not Always Need To Be Fancy
Caviar is generally and expensive food product, but with so many different types at so many different price points it doesn't always have to be treated as such. Many great chefs use caviar as a condiment to add extravagance and complexity to everyday cuisine. While some of the top-shelf caviars should be enjoyed with only a few of the traditional accouterments, others can be used in recipes (like garnishing a pizza) or enjoyed much more casually (with potato chips and a beer).
Caviar Is Like Wine
This is a very common comparison in terms of both caviar and wine having diverse complexity that takes time to fully understand. Much like with wine, the price of a caviar is directly linked to the rarity and scarceness of the caviar type as well as the time and resources it takes to produce. That does in no way mean that the most expensive caviar is the best and often times consumers can find more affordable options that fit their needs just fine.
Caviar Is Unique to Each Individual's Palate
There are some good pointers here for how to sample caviar and find your favorite type. Again with the wine comparison, you have to find the species, grade, vintage, and farm that produces caviar most fitting to your palate. Just like there are an uncountable number vineyards out there today, the world has more caviar farms and fisheries that offer more caviar variety now than ever before. As quality controls improve and caviar becomes more readily available to potential customers, finding the caviar that is most appealing to you can take time, but is always worth it.
Caviar Is Everywhere These Days
The end of this article features popular Los Angels restaurants that are taking caviar service to the next level:
Tom yum chicharron platter offers a Persian blue salt and Japanese kombu salt custom-cured caviar paired with lemongrass, lime leaf, and tamarind french onion dip and from Nightshade chef and co-owner (and Top Chef season 12 winner) Mei Lin.
Osteria Cal Mare chef and partner Adam Fox presents a tower of traditional blinis, creme fraiche and caviar in a build-your-own canapé station; stacked with the pillowy Italian donut, zeppole, that’s drizzled with elderflower honey; prosciutto di Parma; smoked trout roe and Kaluga caviar; and condiments like chopped egg yolks, caramelized onions, and fresh chives.
Caviar and banana pancakes are crafted table-side and smeared with butter containing barbecued banana peels, then topped with California white sturgeon caviar that has been slightly barbecued in banana leaves over an open fire, just the usual stuff from Angler chef Joshua Skenes.
Birdie G's caviar platter with a warm potato waffle, crème fraîche and a spoonful of roe topped off with pickled red onion, capers, chives, and some ‘everything’ benne seeds is a throw-back to chef and co-owner Jeremy Fox’s family weekend tradition.