Head to any upscale American restaurant in 2018 and you’re bound to spot large jars of caviar. But where does it come from? As it turns out, it comes from a surprising source—the USA. Caviar can be found at high-end restaurants in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and Las Vegas. The stuff that’s not so common, however, is farmed right in your own backyard. The Land of Plenty: An Oyster’s Tale provides a history of the fish that provides raw, aged, wet-salted or cured caviar—a wild variety of sturgeon.
How to Select Caviar
Unless you want raw fish, take a bit more time to learn how to select a good grade of caviar from a local fishmonger. The quality depends on the age, flavor, color and size of the fish. The older a fish, the more expensive it is. The caviar has to be undamaged and free of imperfections. A tiny problem can ruin the quality of the oil that makes up a finished product. Look for large salmon with meaty meat and fat that’s almost black. I’m not the biggest fan of golden brown bits, but these will be the cheapest variety and will taste more artificial. More expensive products have as much or more salt. Get a good quality, well-preserved piece of fish with brown pieces. Look for the skin to be relatively flawless, with no noticeable scales and scales that are smooth, not “fatty.” Look for large, well-muscled fish with pink flesh. Look for fish with loose skin and meat. The skin should be the same color as the fish’s flesh and free of obvious deformities or dried out areas. Look for bone and “blubber” to be the same color as the fish’s flesh. Blubber is a soft skin that can be flaky and or almost transparent. Now that you have your selection of fish, look for the texture of the fish. Look for meat that is easily handled with one hand and elastic meat that expands or contracts with cooking or cold storage. The fish should be large, firm and well-shaped. It should be firm with no broken bones, beaks or tails, be wide and strong in the center and slightly tapered on the ends.
Get the freshest caviar possible. Buy directly from the source or try a local fish market. Keep it refrigerated until you are ready to cook it.
The following shops have earned reputations for selling quality products online.
Browne Trading Company
and of course Marky’s Caviar, affordable American caviar from $13.48