Do you remember the first time you had caviar? You had heard a lot about it, this mysterious luxury: small black pearls so exquisite in taste and texture that people paid for the nose only for a tablespoon. So, you tried it. And there it was: salty and fishy, a small black mound on a small fat pancake with a bit of sour cream. You thought to yourself, is this it? Surely, few people fall in love with caviar at the first bite. Those second, third, and fourth bites are needed to get it. So it’s like, Woah, where have you been all my life?
We tapped with Alexandre Petrossian, from the Petrossian fine food company, and the grandson of one of the first men who brought caviar to France, then to America, to tell us all there is to know about fancy fish eggs.
- Caviar is one of the oldest delicacies.
Before raw oysters, before champagne, even before truffles were considered a delicacy, kings and aristocracy coveted caviar. Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Russian czars were known to squander caviar.
- Caviar is not as expensive as you think
OK, it’s definitely not cheap. But caviar prices have fallen in recent years as advances in aquaculture, especially domestically, have made farmed sturgeon more available and more affordable. Coincidentally, EE. USA It was also responsible for a sharp drop in prices in the early 19th century, when it was discovered that lake sturgeon abounded here.
- The salmon roe in your sushi is not caviar!
The caviar was originally harvested by Russian and Persian fishermen in the Caspian Sea. The term refers to unfertilized salt-cured fish eggs of different sturgeon species, including Ossetra, Sevruga, and Beluga. Almost all 26 sturgeon species have been used for caviar.
- Caviar is judged by its color, flavor, texture, and maturity.
The finest and most expensive caviar are the oldest and largest, lightest-colored eggs. The lower quality caviar is younger, with a less intense fishy flavor and a darker color. It’s also good for caviar newbies, who are more likely to start with cheaper, smoother things.
- The caviar lasts more than a day.
Because it is technically cured fish, caviar has a decent shelf life, even after opening. Store it in the coldest part of your refrigerator, as close to the freezer as possible, and it should stay cool for about a month.
- Caviar is like wine.
Caviar addicts and VIPs will look for reserve caviar, the rarest and most expensive of all caviar. In the Middle Ages, many countries had laws requiring that the best caviar be reserved for the monarchy. The reserve caviar would have been that caviar.
- Caviar is like Prozac
Historically, caviar was prescribed to alleviate depression. Hey, wouldn’t you feel better if someone gave you caviar? It’s not as suspicious as it sounds: Recent studies show that high doses of omega-3 fatty acids (caviar is rich in omega-3s) can alleviate symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder.
- Caviar is like Viagra
It was also prescribed for impotence. Now.
- Caviar is audible
When Petrossian hires a new caviar calibrator, they make sure the person has a musical ear. When the fish eggs are rubbed together, friction can be heard. The sound of good caviar when packaged is clearly recognizable as something similar to a cat’s purr.
- Caviar can be sustainable
Several of the 26 sturgeon species are now considered endangered, but all have been severely overexploited, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. The source of access for sustainable fish alternatives recommends opting for the white sturgeon and swordfish roe farmed in the US. USA