Well-known as a luxury food with the rich and famous, caviar was first eaten in the 15th century. It is traditionally the roe or salted eggs from sturgeon but the edible eggs of other fish such as salmon are also sometimes rather confusingly referred to as caviar. Russia and Iran are the world's main caviar exporters, with most of the caviar producing sturgeon originate from the Caspian sea.
Three of the most well-known varieties are available belgua, sevruga and oscietra and they are produced from different species of sturgeon. A more economical alternative to sturgeon's eggs is lumpfish roe which is mainly produced in Denmark and has a similar appearance to caviar. Lumpfish roe and caviar are both sold in tins or jars.
Uses: Due to its high cost caviar is usually served in small portions, lumpfish roe can be served in the same way. Serve it on thin toast with a little butter or on blinis (small Russian pancakes) with a little soured cream as an appetiser and offer with a glass or two of chilled sparkling wine or a glass of vodka before a special meal. Other popular accompaniments are chopped onion, chopped hard-boiled egg white or a squeeze of lemon juice. To make the caviar go a little further, serve a selection of toppings such as smoked salmon with creme fraiche or prawns with cream cheese on the toast or blinis
To prepare: Caviar is best served well chilled so keep it in the fridge and remove just before serving.
To store: Keep caviar in the fridge and once opened use within 3 to 4 days.