Chef Kendall Huff
Native Foods Cafe
Did you know that today is National Caviar Day?
When I was in culinary school, we were taught that caviar was delicacy. It was an acquired taste that cost WAY too much money. So not only did the thought of eating fish eggs gross me out, but why would I spend that much money for it?
While working in fancy hotels, I have seen many different colors, sizes and species of caviar. From serving them on blinis & pizzas, to serving them to movie stars with a mother of pearl spoon, this luxurious item just never seemed appealing to me as a trained chef and still can’t figure out why people like it… And now, we are even mimicking caviar with nail polishes and lipsticks! Crazy.
And if that isn’t enough, day spas are offering a $235 an hour facial, which uses caviar! It’s an anti-aging process that uses these eggs. Spread fish eggs on my face to look younger? I’ll take the wrinkles, thank you very much.
Traditionally, caviar is the egg from the Sturgeon fish only. Now, one can find four kinds, Beluga, Sterlet, Ossetra, and Sevruga. Other fish such as salmon, steelhead, trout, lumpfish and whitefish also get to have their eggs packaged and sold as well. Each get their names from the region in which that particular fish swims. And they range anywhere from 8 to 16k a kg. YIKES!
So…shall we discuss how this process is done? Lets do this quickly...
There are a few ways this happens. Commercial “farmers” will stun the fish and remove the “ovaries”. Another method is removing the eggs surgically, which allows the females to continue producing eggs, but is illegal in some countries. The third method is “stripping”, which extracts the eggs without surgery, but not used a lot due to lack of knowledge and/or inexperience.
With all that being said, lets play with these recipes and let those fishes swim! Below are a few ideas to make vegan based caviars that I guarantee will be much better for every species!
1 each eggplant (1#)
2 TBSP Olive oil
2 each shallots, chopped
3 each red peppers, roasted, rinsed and chopped
2 TBSP molasses
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cracked black pepper
*Pierce the eggplant in several places with a fork and place on a sheet pan.
* Roast in a 400 degree oven about 50 to 60 minutes or until the skin peels away from the “meat” & is very tender. Then let it cool until you can touch it.
*Sauté the shallots in oil on medium heat.
*When the eggplant is cool, scoop out the goodies into a bowl. Add the shallots, red peppers, molasses, vinegar, salt and pepper.
*Mash the eggplant with your fork or masher. Serve on garlic toast with some fresh micro greens! Much fancier and tastier then fish eggs!
or try the Poor Man’s Caviar
1 ½ cups black beans
1 ½ cups black-eyed peas
1 ½ cups garbanzo beans
1 ½ cups corn
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped basil
½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
* Stir the black beans, black eyes, chickpeas, corn, onion, garlic, and herbs together in a bowl.
*Mix together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper to make the dressing. Pour the mix over the beans and toss a bit. Chill for 24 hours before serving.
End Side Note- I never really did research on how the caviar process was until this blog. I’m glad that I did it today! I learned some really interesting things today, and am actually a bit sick to my stomach to be honest. So, since I’m sitting on a lake in Ohio, I’m going to go swimming with the fishes!