As a child, I remember thinking that caviar (and only of beluga variety) was something that high rollers stacked on blinis and creme fraiche with tiny spoons as they discussed shady illegal arms deals in thick accents, scantily-clad Slavic floozies lounging in the background. In retrospect, this Albert Broccoli-esque belief was a little presumptuous, as there are many different types of caviar out there that range wildly in price, type, color, size-you get the idea.
Caviar is salted fish eggs, and while though those from sturgeon are considered to be the real McCoy, there are plenty of alternatives such as salmon, whitefish, and trout. There are four types: Beluga, Sterlet, Ossetra, and Sevruga, ranking in quality of the order listed. Traditionally Russian and Iranian brands are considered to be the finest, though in my opinion it's kind of like wine: you like what you like and hope that it hasn't gone bad. Growing up, my family usually served it with some sort of cream spread, crackers, and chives or scallions, but I've seen many different uses ranging from sushi, atop soft-boiled eggs, paired with a baguette, and as a complement to other seafood. Mostly, the bold (and often expensive) nature of caviar lends itself to being eaten and enjoyed without much outside influence.
To celebrate the birthday of Boris Spassky, aka Gospodin Ducklips, I thought a little caviar and Stoli Gold would be in order this Saturday. Not really--I had no idea who Boris Spassky is until I just Googled "Russian birthday January 30th," but there was a Stevia-sweet deal. In hopes of savoring and interpreting the true nature of the caviar, I decided to it best to enjoy with only crackers or a baguette.
There will be no snickering as to the prominence of my fivehead, or its vascularity.
Red: As I have typically thought, the red varietal of salmon roe is too salty for my likes by itself. It pairs much better with creme fraiche, sour cream, cream cheese, or butter and a baguette. The large nature of the egg lends itself to something of a pop when bitten into.
Yellow/Orange: From the whitefish, the yellow/gold caviar is quite tasty. Smaller than its sanguine counterpart, it is also less salty. Best, in my opinion, with butter and a baguette.
Black: The good stuff from a sturgeon, these tiny black beads are the least salty, most savory, and also most enjoyable. Though they're excellent with all sorts of pairings, a tiny dollop of creme fraiche and a blini are the ideal transport to your mouth. Maybe the James Bond villains had it right.
I've got some caribou in the freezer and Charlemagne (whom you may remember from the Beef Tongue entry) just got a sausage grinder, so look forward to that coming up.