As we dive deeper into the world of fish roe and interesting ingredients, we discover that some delicacies have been right in front of our eyes the whole time.
Trout caviar is a perfect example of a beautiful roe product that is native to North America. It comes with the added benefits of affordability, accessibility, and versatility in cuisine.
Yes, trout is more than just a reason for guys to get out of town on the weekends. This fish produces an exceptionally delicate and delicious roe that everyone should try.
It may not be on the same level as authentic sturgeon caviar, but then again, nothing is! However, trout roe deserves a closer look, so let’s explore this great ingredient starting now.
Trout Caviar Basics
There’s no doubt you’ve seen and heard about trout, even if you’ve never picked up a fishing rod in your life.
Here are the basics about the fish and its renowned roe.
Key Facts About Trout
Is there a more quintessentially North American fish than the trout? With so many subspecies, locations, and strategies, the legacy of trout in the USA and Canada runs deep.
Trout is found on country-western album covers, classic outdoors magazines, and displayed proudly in fishing cabins by lakes and rivers around the country. What more could you ask for from a national fish?
But even those familiar with trout might not know some of the finer details about the fish. For starters, the name trout is widely used to describe a number of different species in the families Salmo, Oncorhynchus, and Salvelinus.
Cousins of trout include famous fish like salmon and char, and there’s a separate subspecies entirely focused on fish of the pacific; things are different out west.
In terms of anatomy and habitat, trout are highly varied in nearly every way. Since this fish can live in dramatically different environments, its size, shape, and color schemes can be equally distinctive and even alter in the course of seasons and years.
In general, trout are on the smaller side, weighing under 10 pounds. However, record-setting rainbow and lake trout have been caught at 50 and 70 pounds, particularly up north.
While trout can typically be found in freshwater streams and lakes, some species are more rigorous, like river salmon, or take on deeper, brackish waters near ocean inlets.
Trout populations around the world may be dwindling in natural habitats, but thanks to improvements in conservation and rising aquaculture and farming standards, the future of trout is looking brighter.
Caviar or Roe — Which Is Correct?
Now that we’ve got the facts on trout, let’s talk about its roe and proper terminology.
If you don’t already know, now is a good time for a reminder: only salted sturgeon roe can rightly be called caviar. Everything else is just roe — even the eggs of the most elegant king salmon or record-breaking rainbow trout.
Keep in mind that “caviar” is a word thrown around by vendors for marketing purposes, even if they’re breaking the most basic rule in the book.
Of course, there’s a hierarchy in the world of roe, and trout ranks rather high in most circles, even if it doesn’t stack up to the luxury of real sturgeon caviar.
As mentioned, there are also dozens of types of trout to be found around the world, each with different attributes that impact the size, shape, texture, and taste of the eggs. With that said, the best type of roe in this category is undoubtedly rainbow trout roe. This fish offers the best flavors and fetches the highest prices in the marketplace.
The lesson here is to never refuse trout roe just because it isn’t technically considered caviar. Enjoy the product for what it is and savor each bite.
Trout Roe Characteristics
Curious what trout roe actually looks and tastes like? Let’s get into what makes trout roe unique and desirable as an everyday ingredient.
Appearance and Size
Twist open a tin of trout roe, and you’ll immediately be blown away by the bright, translucent orange colors and enormous pearls that rival some of the world’s finest salmon eggs.
These are not the typical flying fish roe that you might see sprinkled on your sushi roll. Trout roe is bigger, better, and more visually stunning by every metric.
Colors may vary slightly depending on where the trout originated and other factors in the production process. Some trout roe batches are lighter and more see-through, while others have a deeper, richer golden color with less of an orange tinge.
Flavor and Texture
The bottom line is that you know trout roe when you see it, and after you’ve tasted it for the first time, it’s hard to forget! That’s because trout roe has an exceptionally balanced sweet and savory flavor that sets it apart from other less dynamic roes in its class.
Taking a scoop of trout roe is also a blast (literally) from a texture standpoint. These pearls are lightly cured in addition to their naturally firm exterior, meaning they deliver a sensational “pop” on the palate moments after reaching the tongue.
On all accounts, trout roe is a treat and something you shouldn’t pass up when given the opportunity to try.
Using Trout Roe in Cuisine
Because trout roe is known for more of a sweet and delicate flavor, opposed to musky and earthy umami, it doesn’t necessarily have as much versatility in the kitchen.
There are still so many classic ways to enjoy trout roe, many of which you already know. Toast points (with country white bread) or mini-pancake blinis are perfect launchpads for a hearty scoop of trout roe. Just don’t forget the crème fraiche and garnish.
You can also get more creative with the sweet and salty dynamic and explore apps like custards, cold soups, dill spreads, and other light starting fare.
Think of trout roe as the lighter, brighter cousin of more intense and fishy roes – all products have their time and place, so put them to good use.
Tips To Procuring Great Trout Roe
Now that you know the wonders of trout roe, you’re probably wondering how to get a tin of your own.
Here’s how to find trout roe the right way and at a fair price.
In-Person or Online?
Trout roe, like genuine sturgeon caviar, is considered a specialty item and won’t be found in most stores. Yet, you may be able to place an order with a gourmet grocer in your city.
An easier approach is to simply find trout roe online and have your pick from dozens of amazing products. You shouldn’t have to pay more than $20 an ounce for top-tier roe. Hard to argue that price.
Storage and Service
When having trout roe shipped to your door, just make sure your vendor of choice is following best practices in shipping and handling. This is crucial given the sensitive nature of the product.
Once your trout roe arrives, store it in a cold corner of your refrigerator and bring it up to room temp before serving. After the container has been opened, aim to finish the roe within a few days at most.
Enjoy and Share Some Stunning Trout Caviar
Trout roe may not be in the same ballpark as Royal Ossetra or Kaluga sturgeon caviar, but that’s beside the point. Trout roe is a national treasure that everyone should try, so add it to your list of culinary to-do’s!