The History Behind Red Caviar
Red caviar or salmon caviar started out as something of a substitute for black caviar because of the fishing bans in the Caspian Sea. But this substitute has become something more, with a presence that’s not unlike that of the black caviar at least, the way the black caviar used to be in Russia. And there’s even a significant demand for red caviar Toronto and Vancouver, for example, have a healthy population of caviar fans.
Sushi lovers might be able to recognize salmon roe from outings at their favorite sushi place in downtown Toronto. Ikura is actually very popular in Japan. In fact, the Japanese have the Russians to thank for their ikura obsession because it was actually the Russians who introduced the curing of salmon roe to the Japanese during the Taisho period (circa 1912-1926). Actually, the word ikura is actually not even Japanese. The word is actually Russian for roe.
It should be noted, however, that the Japanese Ikura comes from white salmon while the Russian salmon roe or red caviar comes from pink salmon.
In the West, the story is actually very different. The arrival of red caviar was initially met with criticism from caviar aficionados. A number of these gourmands believed that the term caviar should only be used for the roe from sturgeons fished from the Caspian and Black Sea. Some also claimed that red caviar tasted far too salty compared to black caviar.
This criticism seems unwarranted, however, considering red caviar has been found to actually contain less salt than black caviar.
Though not actually one of the staple foods in American cuisine, most of the salmon roe that are harvested come from salmon found in American waters. In fact, it has become something of a lucrative side job for salmon fishermen in Alaska, for example.
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