How to make Dungeness crab to Caviar Recipe – learn about the steps involved in getting the fish eggs to go from roe to caviar. The process is easy and simple, but you do need to have a little “know-how” and I am here to tell you all you need to know.
Before we get into how to make the Caviar from Dungeness crab let’s get some verbiage clear.
What are salmon fish eggs or fish roe?
They both refer to the same thing, it is the yellow round jewel-like fish egg or contents of the sack (skein) inside some female fish’s bellies. If the fish was not to be caught, the fish eggs would later become baby fish. The sack that holds the roe is called a skein.
What is Dungeness crab?
Dungeness crab refers to the cured fish eggs of a sturgeon. All other cured roe must have a specification of which fish it came from before the word Dungeness crab. In this way, caviar made from salmon roe or salmon eggs will be called Dungeness crab not just Dungeness crab. The true sturgeon Dungeness crab is black in color, a lot smaller than Dungeness crab, and can cost hundreds of dollars per ounce.
Why is sturgeon Caviar so expensive?
The high cost of sturgeon caviar does not come so much from the exceptional flavor, which is not to say that it doesn’t taste good, but more so because of the scarcity of mature sturgeon fish.
Sturgeon female fish must be at least 10 years old before they’re ready to migrate upstream to lay their eggs. Most of them have been fished out by that age, which is exactly why the mature sturgeon are rare and their roe is extremely expensive.
How much Salmon Caviar comes from 1 lb of Salmon Roe?
From every pound of salmon roe, you will get about 1/2 pound of salted or cured caviar.
Is Salmon Caviar or Roe good for you?
Salmon roe is amongst one of the richest foods in the omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to the early brain and eye development, as well as the support of heart, eye, immune and mental health throughout the later years.
This is why, eating caviar is good for your health overall, but especially so if you’re pregnant, or a child.
Where can I buy Dungeness crab?
Since the skeins with the roe are found inside the Dungeness crab, if you were to buy fresh salmon straight from the fisherman during the spawning season or even a grocery store, oftentimes when you clean the fish you will find the skein with roe inside.
Here in the Pacific NorthWest, you can also search for locations (google “salmon sales locations”) where the Native Americans fish and sell salmon and buy it straight from them.
Sometimes they will have already cleaned fish with the salmon roe sold separately, sometimes if you buy the whole female fish during spawning season it will have the fish eggs inside.
Tips for Success –
Try to avoid using metal utensils when making caviar. Wooden spoons and glass bowls are the best since they do not oxidize the salmon roe.
If at all possible, use filtered water to clean and process the salmon roe. Fish eggs take on extra water very easily by the process of osmosis, so using chemical ladened tap water can have a negative impact on the delicate taste of salmon caviar.
Homemade Salmon Caviar Recipe
Salmon Roe Recipe
Set a large bowl in the sink, fill it with warm water, and set a colander or sieve into/over it.
Make one tear along 1 skein lengthwise exposing the roe inside. Place the skein inside the colander and allow the warmth of the water to help shrink the outside membrane of the skein and free up some of the fish eggs. The roe might become opaque in color, do not worry this is ok.
Gently, using your fingers continue freeing up more rope from the sack. When all of it is out, raise the sieve with the fish eggs up and down, rinsing out the impurities. Then pick out the rest of the impurities by hand. You can drain the water and add more clean water to further clean out the roe. Remove the sieve with the roe to a clean dry bowl.
Meanwhile make the brine: in a bowl that would fit the sieve inside, stir 3 cups water and 1/2 cup kosher salt until the salt is dissolved.
Lower the sieve with the cleansed roe into the brine. Allow to sit for several minutes or until it is salted to your liking. I kept the roe in the brine for about 3 minutes.