Learn how to serve caviar the right way to get the most out of this delectable treat. Caviar is a delicacy that can be enjoyed by the rich and famous - but it can also be enjoyed by the average person!
In this article, we'll start off by teaching you how to choose it from the stores. Secondly, how to serve caviar and enjoy every bite of this unique dish. Lastly, we’ll go over how to store caviar to not waste any of it!
How to Choose Caviar
Don't buy if the caviar smells 'off' or smells strongly ‘fishy’.
We recommend shopping for the delicacy from reputable specialist stores or in high-end supermarkets. This will help you spot if the caviar smells off or is very fishy in store. Another telltale sign is if the delicacy carries a slightly sour smell. This can indicate that the eggs have started to go bad.
For this reason, we recommend not buying this online unless you are sure of the source.
A genuine Russian producer would be best for quality, but make sure you shop around for a good price too. The best dealers are selected by their customers, which include many of the top chefs and restaurants.
Experience counts too - some have been trading for decades. The most expensive product is not always the best. Once you get used to buying caviar, you may prefer one particular flavour over another.
Never buy caviar in plastic tubs
Even if they claim it is pasteurized, caviar needs to be kept refrigerated. To keep the flavour and texture of the eggs intact, always look for tin with non-metallic lining (zinc or plastic/PVC).
Caviar in plastic tubs is likely to be of low quality and have been frozen. It may also be stored for a long time after production and may not be fresh.
How To Serve Caviar
Eat at room temperature
Whether it's cold or warm, the flavour is hard to sustain at the wrong temperature. Expensive types are best served only slightly warmed - a touch of hot water is best - and never chilled.
Caviar fans are not impressed by the blandness that some people prefer to their taste buds. Also, the texture of delicacy is better if it's not frozen and left to thaw.
The best way is to let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. You can also place it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes or in the freezer for a few minutes.
Eat within 24 hours
If you leave caviar out and uneaten for more than a day, there's a chance for bacteria growth. If you have any leftovers, they should be refrigerated immediately. The shelf life of caviar is relatively short and it shouldn't be kept for more than a day or two.
Do not freeze caviar as this takes away the texture of the delicacy. Where possible, the delicacy should be consumed within 24 hours after opening the tin and kept refrigerated if possible.
Unopened tins of the delectable treat can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one month after production.
Don’t try and get away with it as your guests will notice the change in taste when you serve it!
Serve with clean silver spoon
Don't use any spoon that has been used for anything else. It is the traditional Russian way to serve caviar with mother of pearl spoons, but many quality dealers will provide equally clean sterling or other silverware if you prefer.
Wash your own utensils in hot soapy water before use and clean with a toothbrush if necessary.
Don't add salt to your caviar
The delicate flavour of many expensive types can be ruined by even a small pinch, it will ruin its taste and texture too.
The only time you can add some salt is when caviar is served with omelettes, blini and other dishes where the eggs are already cooked.
Traditional ways to serve caviar
Caviar is best served on open-faced or buttered bread, but never with crackers or any other type of bread product as this will absorb much of the flavour and texture.
Toast can also be used, it should be thin so you have more caviar per bite.
If possible serve at least some of each type on its own. This way people can taste how different they are from each other. The size is important here too - larger fish eggs need bigger pieces of toast.
Use small spoons if you're serving only a single grain or several together as garnish.
Never put hot food on top of cold caviar as this can spoil the eggs and make them go off faster.
Serve only one or two types at once
For several types, it is best to have them on separate plates so people can sample each one separately.
The only time when you should mix them is if you’re serving flavoured ones (e.g. black caviar mixed with chopped onion).
No right or wrong way to eat or serve caviar
Pinching out a bit of caviar with a silver shovel and putting it onto the toast is one way, using a little spoon is another.
The Russians scoop out the fish eggs and right into their mouths from the tin. Meanwhile, others prefer to tip the whole lot in together and squelch them around before swallowing.
All ways are correct as long but always use your fingers rather than a fork, that way it won't get all over everything!
Take your time when eating caviar
Spread it over the bread so that every bite is different, then take small amounts at a time and fully appreciate every mouthful.
Eating caviar is meant to be an experience. Serve and savour every bite and moment of it.
How To Store it
If it's not eaten at once after serving, it should be completely covered with a layer of ice or in a thick layer of iced water until the meal is finished. This will sustain the temperature of the caviar and stop it from going bad.
After serving, use a tight-fitting lid to cover. This is essential - otherwise, the contents will go rancid because of oxidation and exposure to light and air. Use a container that's made for caviar - plastic or glass ones work fine, don't use tinned food containers as they can react with the delicacy.
Can you freeze it?
You can freeze caviar to preserve it for up to one year. However, unlike freezing cream cheese, the flavour will be lighter and the texture will be softer.
Caviar stored in the freezer should be defrosted in the refrigerator. Never let it thaw on the counter.
Caviar can be enjoyed by just about anyone. If you're interested in getting started, we recommend trying some at your local restaurant or grocery store and finding a favourite!
Now that you've seen what's out there it should be easier to decide which type of dish will best suit your tastes. Serve your guests with confidence!