Caviar Serving and Storing Tips
Caviar has been enjoyed by the social elite, and royalty since before the Middle-ages. Traditionally, caviar was heavily salted (ancient Persians) in order to preserve the eggs, and it wasn’t until it became popular in Russia, that a lightly-salted version became the norm. Naturally the trade off to less salting was that the caviar didn’t last very long, and so the tradition of eating caviar as an appetizer, (immediately) became very popular.
Unfortunately, due to sturgeon overfishing (among other reasons), caviar has returned to luxury status, but with the addition of non-sturgeon based caviars on the market, caviar has become an affordable luxury at many a dinner party and banquet, and everyday occasions all over the world.
Of course, knowing how to properly prepare and serve caviar is tantamount to enjoying what caviar has to offer; and the following steps and tips will allow you to present and serve the wonderful flavour of caviar so that both you and your guests to enjoy.
Step 1: Chill the serving plates in the refrigerator at least one hour prior to serving. This will ensure that the plates are chilled, as warm or hot plates will affect how long the caviar can sit out.
Remove the caviar from the refrigerator approximately 15-20 minutes prior to serving. Do not open the container at this time, simply let the un-opened tin acclimate to room temperature.
Step 2: Prepare your serving platter by adding traditional caviar accompaniments: for example- bite-sized pieces of lightly-toasted triangles (lightly buttered), blinis, etc. Remove your bowl of creme fraiche from the refrigerator.
Step 3: Prepare the caviar server (or decorative tray/dish – ideally made of silver or crystal) by adding crushed ice.
Step 4: Open the tin of caviar and place the tin atop the crushed ice, ensuring the tin is completely surrounded by ice (for even chilling); add a mother-of-pearl spoon to the caviar.
Note: If you do not have a mother-of-pearl spoon, a ceramic spoon (or bone, tortoise shell, and even wood) will suffice. Avoid using a metal or silver spoon as the metal may taint the flavor of the caviar.
Step 5: Remove the chilled serving plates, and place the plates, caviar tray and accompaniments on your serving table so guests can serve themselves.
- Caviar eggs (roe) are fragile, so handle them with extreme care.
- Rinse all non-sturgeon based caviars prior to serving (in case the eggs have been dyed); this will prevent the colour from running.
- If you are serving beverages with the caviar, the ideal choices are frozen vodka, and very dry Champagne (sparkling wine, or dry white wine may also be used). Avoid flavored vodkas or champagne that is sweet.
- To properly taste caviar, place the grain (eggs) into your mouth and let them burst forth releasing their flavor in your mouth.
- Caviar can spoil quickly, so it is important to keep it nestled in crushed ice, and ideally- served and eaten immediately once opened.
- You should never cook caviar, as it will likely rupture the eggs. If a recipe calls for caviar, be sure to add it at the end, or as a garnish.
Caviar Storage and Preservation:
- Caviar should only opened right before it will be consumed.
- Unopened caviar can be refrigerated for 15-20 days.
- Refrigerate the caviar but do not freeze (it may burst the eggs).
- Store fresh caviar at 26-34 degrees Fahrenheit. Caviar stored at this temperature can last 1-4 weeks and the high-oil content protects it from freezing at this temperature.
- If you are unsure of the temperature of your refrigerator, you can store the caviar in the fridge packed in ice (changing the ice as it melts).
Opened caviar should be tightly covered with plastic wrap and eaten within 1-2 days.