caviar is a new important player in the caviar market. It
is farmed and harvested in freshwater lakes or tanks generally
on the Pacific Northwest Coast of the United States, as well
as California and the Great Lakes. American caviar or roe
species can include: sturgeon caviar, hackleback caviar, paddlefish
caviar, salmon caviar and whitefish caviar. Some consider
it close to the Russian and Iranian Osetra caviars (taste
and texture), although others rank it closer to the slightly
smaller (and less expensive) Sevruga caviar.
Over fishing of sturgeon species in the Caspian Sea (Caspian
Beluga is now in the endangered species list) has sent the
Russian and Iranian caviar markets into a downward spiral,
causing Caspian caviar to be less available and much harder
to find (although generally Iranian caviar is easier to find
these days than Russian Beluga caviars-albeit at a high price).
American caviar has risen to fill that increasing void, presenting
an environmentally conscious and sustainable option, without
sacrificing flavor and quality. Further, American caviars
present a much more affordable option, primarily due to wider
availability, but also because of certain amount of caviar
snobbery which only accepts Caspian caviars as the true caviars.
TYPES OF AMERICAN CAVIAR
American Sturgeon Caviar/Hackleback Caviar
The most sophisticated American gourmet caviar or roe. Typically
from the hackleback sturgeon which roams wild in the Mississippi
River and its tributaries, this is your best domestic option.
All the quality of sturgeon caviar, American Sturgeon caviar
is small, a glistening jet-black, and dissolves in your mouth,
leaving a nutty aftertaste. The main difference is a strong
aftertaste that you usually won’t find in other caviars.
However, it makes a great substitute for more expensive imports,
plus it is much easier to find! Another option, though not
as readily available, is the white sturgeon, farmed typically
in California, but originally found in the Pacific from Alaska
to Mexico, and comparable to the Caspian osetra caviar.
Bowfin Caviar/American Caviar
The bowfin is a rare specimen of an ancient fish which lived
over 180 million years ago. In the American South it was generally
discarded as a “trash fish”, their flesh used
in fish cakes. Also known by its Cajun name, “choupique”,
which comes from "shupik," a Choctaw Indian word
for ‘mudfish.' Also called swampfish and cypress trout.
Bowfin roe is called “Cajun Caviar” in some parts
of the South, and this American caviar produces berries that
are black in color and very flavorful. The texture is firm,
the eggs a glistening black (very similar to sturgeon caviar).
Salmon Caviar/ Red Caviar
Beautiful caviar, from the eggs of the female salmon. A great
domestic product, North American Salmon caviar usually comes
from salmon of Alaska or the Pacific Northwest, which makes
it much more affordable. It is bright, pearlescent, reddish
pink, so the eggs are popularly referred to as “pearls”
(it makes an absolutely stunning garnish). It is larger, juicier,
and much saltier than other caviars.
Whitefish Caviar/ American Golden Caviar
Originally from European fish species, this is now a hallmark
of the American caviar industry. Like its name implies, the
eggs are golden-yellow, extremely firm and kind of pop in
your mouth as you bite in. They can be used as a garnish,
looking absolutely fabulous.
Paddlefish Caviar/Paddlefish Roe
From North America, this is by far the best substitute for
the more expensive sturgeon caviars; Paddlefish is a close
relative of the sturgeon, with a caviar that is comparable
to Sevruga in taste, with dark eggs on the smallish side.
It is more affordable than sevruga
It is harvested in the North America (due to a decline in
paddlefish populations paddlefish caviar is harder to find).
It is also called spoonfish is Kentucky, and found in the
Mississippi River and its tributaries. The flavor is smooth,
and slightly saltier and more understated than Caspian sturgeon
Lumpfish Caviar/ Lumpfish Roe
Lumpfish is an Atlantic Ocean fish. The roe of this fish is
really small, hard, crunchy, and black. Much less expensive
than most other caviars. The caviar can be found dyed black
or red, which is great for using these tiny eggs for garnishing
purposes. The best choice for those occasions that call for
quantity, if not the best of quality.
Trout Roe/Trout Caviar
Not a remarkably popular product in the caviar market, but
trout caviar is a very inexpensive option from the Great Lakes
of North America. It yellow or orange, with a salty flavor,
although a sticky texture.
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