Today is National Caviar Day. If you happen to have money to burn, treat yourself to the real deal – Sturgeon Fish Eggs on toast. Since several species of Sturgeon Fish produce true Caviar, caviar is found in a variety of colors and textures, depending upon the species.
I’ve only had Caviar – as in the real deal imported from Russia twice in my life. Amazing. But like most average folk, especially here in America, our Caviar comes from the Lumpfish. Cheap, salty and just a wee bit fishy. Still, there are different Lumpfish and various ways to finish the eggs. Again, you get what you pay for. Small tins of Lumpfish Caviar can go for as little as $5.00 a tin, to as much as $25.00 for “the good stuff”. While that might sound like a lot, when you compare it to a few hundred for a tin of Beluga Caviar, it’s a barge.
Aside from cost, the single biggest reason to move away from Sturgeon Caviar is sustainability. Once upon a time, the U.S. led the world in distribution of Sturgeon Roe at 600 tones a year. As a result, Sturgeon teetered on the brink of extinction, and the U.S. banned all harvesting in 1900. It was too little too late, as the population has never fully recovered. As a result, harvesting, import and export restrictions remain in place. Most of the world’s sturgeon caviar comes from small sturgeon farms that practice sustainable fishing. Despite movements toward sustainable sturgeon farming, the limited caviar produced from these farms remains incredibly expense. Lumpfish is far less expense to harvest, often farmed, and plentifully. In other words, unless you are a snob or a caviar expert, Lumpfish is the way to go.
Start small, as a garnish, then work your way up the ladder and impress your friends with an appetizer that takes only minutes to create. Enjoy National Caviar Day everyone.
Simple Caviar Appetizers
4-oz Cream Cheese, softened
20 thin Round Crackers
2 oz Black Caviar
2 stems fresh Dill
Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on each cracker.
Place a rounded mound of caviar in the center of each cream cheese cracker. Garnish with fresh dill and serve immediately.