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February 7th, 2005

Cold weather is knocking on the door in most of the country - time to change gears! How about some good comfort food. What are you hungry for? Send your favorite winter recipes to us!

Trout Caviar
By Joe West

Although I very, very rarely keep a trout or steelhead, my favorite part of a trout is the roe. In fact, my favorite part of most fish is the roe. I have read that trout roe was the favored food for infants and children by the native Americans in the East.

Serving size: 1/4 cup+ per person if you are feeling generous, a couple tablespoons if you just want a taste.


Absolutely fresh, untainted-by-pollution trout or steelhead (most Eastern-sized trout do not have enough roe for two people, thus you may need a few).

Kosher Salt

1 whole chicken egg

Note: Chemicals in the roe will react with most metals-- this is a standard disclaimer regarding fish roe, but I've never noticed any degradation in flavor. Therefore, you should only let the roe contact non-metallic surface -- hence the mother of pearl and bone spoons provided with caviar.

Disclaimer: Consuming undercooked fish and fish roe is a health risk blah blah blah. I've been eating and serving the stuff for 10 years.


    1. Boil 5 cups of water. Turn off heat and add whole chicken egg.

    2. Add salt until egg floats in water. Be sure to stir to make sure that salt dissolves. Once egg floats, remove it and crack it over your dog's food. He'll thank you.

    3. Cool water to refrigerator temperature.

    3. Very carefully extract roe sack(s) from fish. Don't squeeze sacks too hard or you will damage them. The structure of the egg sacks is much like the interior of a pomegranete - not only covered in a casing, but with a "structural integrity" system dividing the roe into chambers.

    4. Now the fun part. You want the individual eggs to be footloose and fancy free, not all stuck together. In the caviar factories, they have specially made sieves with holes just slightly larger than the individual eggs.

    a. Carefully slice the egg sacks open.

    b. Carefully (!) rub the egg sacks over a slotted spoon, or similar implement. You'll notice that they mostly dislodge from the connective tissue... but it won't be perfect. Let the individual eggs drop into a bowl filled with a cup of the chilled, boiled salt water.

    c. You'll quickly get a feel for how agressive you can be in this step...if you start breaking eggs, you're pushing too hard as you rub.

    d. Finally, note that there will be some waste as you simply cannot remove every egg.

    5. Once the eggs are mostly individual and sitting in the salt water, swish them around carefully with your hand.

    6. Pour the water and eggs through a strainer.

    7. Add eggs back to remaining salt water and set in fridge for 20 minutes. Taste after 20 mins. If you want them firmer and saltier, let them sit another 20 minutes. Just keep tasting. After the first 20 mins, they are "safe" to eat. I must say that too long in the salt brine ruins their delicate flavor.

    8. Strain roe and put in a suitable searving bowl.

    9. Optional: Add 1/2 teaspoon grapeseed (or other neutral flavored oil) or olive oil (for a unique flavor) to roe. This is how real caviar from sturgeon attains its glossy character. They add a little oil to it. However, it is just fine without - mainly a visual thing.

    10. Serve with blini (little buckwheat pancakes) or toast or crackers. I like to eat it with great bread buttered with great butter. I also like to use it as the filling in makizushi (roll sushi). It is also great as a side dish to smoked trout.

    11. Keeps a day in the fridge.

    ~ From "jwest" of FAOL

    Publisher's Note: We occasionally are able to obtain a fresh net-caught female Atlantic Salmon here. A Russian friend taught us the method - the roe is larger so a bit easier to handle, but the method is the same!

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