As anglers, our first inclination when we clean a fish and find egg sacs is more often than not to make roe bags to, well, catch more fish. But here’s another great thing to make with your roe windfall: caviar. Although you can use the eggs from pretty much any fish, I prefer salmon roe for its subtle flavour. Homemade caviar canapés are always a conversation piece at any party, and the best thing about them is they’re super easy to prepare. Here’s how.
1. Collect the Eggs
Clean your catch immediately: if you find eggs sacs, or skeins, put them in a sealable plastic bag and store it in a cool place, preferably on ice. It’s always best to use the freshest roe possible to make caviar.
2. Cure the Eggs
In a stainless steel or glass bowl or pot, mix three litres of hot water with one cup of Kosher salt to make brine. The water should be hot enough to dissolve the salt, but not boiling. Kosher salt is best because it draws out moisture better than table salt. Stir the mixture until the salt is completely dissolved. Rinse the skeins under cool running water to clean off any blood, then add them to the brine mixture. You’ll notice the membrane and eggs turn from clear to cloudy. Make sure the skeins are fully covered by the brine and let them sit for 30 minutes to cure the eggs.
3. Clean the Eggs
After 30 minutes, remove the skeins from the brine and place them in a colander (keep the brine for later). Put the colander in a second stainless steel or glass bowl or pot. Rinse the skeins under warm running water, then use your fi ngers to pick apart the membrane to separate the eggs. Make sure the skeins are over the strainer and bowl in order to catch all the falling eggs. Also make sure you pick away the membrane from both the outside and inside of the skeins, then rinse the eggs several times to remove any
remaining connective tissue. Return the roe to the brine for about an hour, or until the eggs turn from cloudy to clear. Finally, strain the eggs out of the brine and preserve them in a clean glass jar. Each skein will make about 16 ounces and should last for seven to 14 days if refrigerated. Do not freeze the eggs.
4. Eat the Eggs
To make caviar canapés, spread cream cheese on a cracker, piece of bagel or toast, then add one spoonful of caviar. Garnish with a few sprigs of chives and serve.