GET SOME FISH EGGS INTO YOUR LIFE!
I double dog dare you to get some fish eggs in your life.
When you consider all the new foods that you might try, especially if you are a little nervous about seafood, fish eggs can seem pretty scary. They don’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to enjoy fish eggs, which are sold under a variety of names. Below are a few ways that you might try fish eggs, ranked in order from the “safest” ways up to the most adventurous ways. Here’s a tip: start small.
Tobiko – These tiny little eggs are as innocuous as they come. If you didn’t know it was a fish egg, you wouldn’t think twice about eating them. Made from the eggs of flying fish, tobiko has a very mild flavor and a gorgeous bright orange color. They make a delightful little snap when you bite them. You can eat these on sushi or on a cracker.
Fried Cod Roe – These eggs come in nice firm clumps that hold together well and can be battered and fried. The flavor is distinctive, but mild and the texture matches whatever breading is applied. This same method can be used with a wide variety of fish eggs.
Bottarga – This is a salted and dried roe from a tuna or mullet. This is the European mullet, not the North American filter feeder found in the gulf of Mexico, listed below. I can’t recommend eating bottarga from the tuna because the bluefin tuna is almost universally regarded as a fish that should be avoided. If we keep eating them at our current rate, we’ll have none left in less than a generation. The mullet version is more mild anyway. This product is sliced ultra-thin over pasta or placed directly on the tongue. It has a salty and pleasantly fishy taste and dissolves like butter in your mouth.
Caviar – We’ve killed most of the sturgeon on the planet, so beluga caviar is pretty much a thing of the past. In the US, you can find shad, herring, mullet, paddlefish, and some farmed white sturgeon caviar. Domestic caviar is almost always regarded as sustainable and high quality. This is an expensive product and the flavor can be strong in some varieties. With Caviar, less is more. Don’t feel compelled to eat a big spoonful. Instead, try dishes with small amounts of the caviar on top, or apply it as a garnish to a pasta dish.
Salmon Roe – These beautiful, bright orange eggs look like tobiko but are much larger. They have a stronger flavor and the large size will coat your mouth in an interesting waxy oil. The flavor sticks with your for a few seconds because of the oiliness. These can be eaten like caviar and are common as a garnish for sushi and in poke bowls.
Uni – This is probably the most aggressively flavored roe available. It comes from sea urchins, looks a bit like chunky peanut butter, and tastes like the distilled essence of the sea. It has a deep, briny, fishy flavor that is wonderful in small doses, but a little strong in large doses. It can be quite addictive. Give it a try. You might be surprised how much you like it.
There are so many flavors and textures that fish eggs can bring. Don't get too caught up in assuming that you won't like it. Branch out and see what might suit you!