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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chinook Salmon Caviar

Here it is our Chinook Salmon Caviar ,we ended up with a quart jar full and a small tub of discarded roe to use as fishing bait.
Chinook Salmon are only found here on the west coast of the United States. Wild caught Salmon is a big part of our local food and history.I always view Salmon as one of our treasures.Here in the Portland Oregon area, where we live, the Salmon were once so thick in our Columbia River it is said men could walk across the river on the backs of the Salmon.
This is actually the very first time I remember having Chinook.Unlike the other breeds of Salmon Chinook has white flesh that is highly prized for it's flavor and taste.
When we opened the fish and roe it smelled of fresh water and not at all fishy.The fish had been caught just the day before. You can't get any more local than an hours drive away and barely 24 hours since the fish was caught.
This was our first adventure in making Caviar but we were up to it.Chance found a recipe online that seemed reasonable, easy to follow and what they were asking over all made sense.

This is the roe we started with which weighed 2 pounds.As you can see from the front of the photo the eggs are encased in a membrane that the eggs are attached to.
Our first task was to remove the eggs from this casing.The directions said to rub the roe across a screen that the eggs could pass through.This was suppose to remove the eggs but it did not work out.

We ended up just picking the eggs off of the membrane.We found if you turned the membrane sort of inside out so the eggs were facing outward it made this easier.

And here we are an hour later,that's with both of us working.We now know part of the reason Caviar is so expensive,labor

The cure for the Caviar is very simple 1 gallon water mixed with 4 Cups Pickling Salt stirred until the salt is dissolved, maybe 3 minutes. Next we added the roe while stirring it occasionally for 15 minutes.

Again the recipe failed us on the next step but we found a solution.The recipe said while stirring to pull out any bits of the membrane that would float to the top.Not easy at all,Chance took 4 bamboo skewers and held them chop stick style.He used this to scoop through the roe.As you can see from the photo it worked and he was able to catch the eggs with membrane still on them.
The purpose of doing this is Caviar is suppose to be individual eggs not clumps of eggs. The clumps of roe were put aside to save a fish bait.

Once the 15 minutes were up it was time to take the roe out of their cure.Our Asian Spider worked great for this.

After you have drained the soon to be Caviar place it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 8-12 hours.
When the time has passed the Caviar will be a sticky mass.Place the Caviar in another bowl and pour Olive Oil over it, we used about a 1/4 Cup for our quart jars worth.Gently fold the olive oil into the Caviar.Now pour the Caviar in to a jar and seal with the lid.
The Caviar will hold in the fridge for about 2 weeks. (I am wondering what our local Canning extension would think if I called and asked "How do I process/can Caviar?"Could be worth asking.)

I have to say I am proud of this project.Chance and I try to not let opportunities pass us by that we can learn from.Through sharing this experience with others Chance is receiving a recipe for Japanese Caviar from a friends Japanese Grandma.The Japanese use Sake and Soy Sauce to make theirs,we both think this sounds even better than the Caviar we made and something else to think about trying.
The Caviar was delivered early this morning and we are awaiting feed back.The taste Chance and I had was good to us but we want "customer satisfaction" to be the final word.We'll let you know what we hear.
We may never have the chance to make Caviar again but it gave us a new skill to horde away.Tomorrow I will post about the Smoked Salmon.

Dream a little dream and see where it will lead you.
Chance and Rois

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