Friday, January 6th, 2012 | posted by mike
The holidays are now behind us and the tired fishmongers can sit back, relax and take the time to enjoy, appreciate and savor some of the wonderful fancy holiday fare that we’ve been so busy selling for the past few weeks. Last night we had a fantastic progressive evening of leisurely cooking and eating.
Randomly grabbing goodies from our market on my way out the door, I brought home a selection of oysters, smoked fish, wine herring, anchovies, shrimp cocktail, a jar of osetra caviar, octopus salad, a few whole bronzini for roasting and a large spoonful of one of the loveliest, luxurious and most delicious gems of the sea – salmon roe. Called ikura in Japan, many Americans recognize ikura as the large orange eggs at the sushi bar served on top of rice and wrapped in nori seaweed. Most ikura comes from wild Alaskan salmon with the majority coming from chum salmon because of their large size, firmness and flavor. At their best these bright glistening gems are not only beautiful but have a lightly salty, rich flavor of the sea with a fairly thick casing that, when they pop on the roof of the mouth, explode with a burst of goodness!
Along with this experience comes fantastic health benefits. They are full of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and also high in lean proteins. Ikura can be served as a main course such as ikura don (over rice), tossed in scrambled eggs, served over cold soups or garnished over a seafood pasta, however the possibilities for appetizers are endless.
Serve over lightly buttered toast points or bland crackers (as you would with sturgeon caviar) or over blinis and crème fraîche. Try topping ikura over smoked salmon spread in endive, on top of gravlax with a sprig of dill, or just served with crackers. One of our favorite ways to serve ikura has always been over a freshly shucked oyster on the half shell, topped with a touch of finely chopped purple onion; but I think we topped that last night with some super plump Wawenok oysters from Cape Cod and some Stellar Bays from British Columbia along with our tangy mignonette sauce and those shiny jewels shimmering on top!
The holidays may be over but you can still celebrate the luxury and goodness of ikura all year round. Our chum salmon ikura is harvested in the late summer, cured and flash frozen to retain its integrity and goodness. So come on in and experience the goodness of ikura this winter.