American Caviar: A Great Alternative for Pricey, Hard to Find European Varieties
These days it’s hard to get a hold of European caviar. This is a good thing for the sturgeon who live in the Caspian Sea, specifically the Beluga who is now on the endangered species list. But for foodies in search of this salty, buttery delicacy, it appears their options are limited.
Fear not if you’re in a pickle over your the appetizer spread at your next cocktail party. There are plenty of substitutes for European caviar that are picking up steam and gaining fans. The most notable include several types of American caviar. These varieties are not only praised for their flavor, but are also dramatically lower in price. Rather than paying around $100 an ounce, try $20.
Now don’t get the wrong idea and start thinking American sturgeon are a cheap date. Not actually related to the Caspian Sea faring sturgeon, they offer roe that is strikingly similar in flavor. Two of which are hackleback and paddlefish caviar. The tastes of these two varieties are sometimes compared to sevruga caviar. They will certainly have a saltier, brinier taste as they are river dwellers. But at $15 an ounce on the low end for either, and an average of $30 for hackleback and $20 for the smaller roe paddlefish, either choice is a great value.
Another American substitute for imported caviars is the bowfin. This species of fish is actually older than the sturgeon. It is one of the most inexpensive caviars and is noted for its tangy and earthy flavors. It is quite affordable and is sometimes used in cajun cooking recipes. It averages only about $9 an ounce.
American caviar can be enjoyed just as other caviars from Europe are enjoyed, on a cracker, potato blini, or lightly toasted piece of bread. Just remember to serve it with a bone or mother-of-pearl spoon the same way you would any other caviar. A metal fork imparts a tinny flavor on the eggs.
American caviar is easy to find so you will not have any trouble tracking it down in time for the party, or even for a romantic evening at home with the object of your affection. Whatever the occasion, enjoy this great luxury at a great price!