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Ingredient: American Caviar

American caviars are a tasty, versatile alternative to endangered beluga.

With the new ban on Caspian Sea beluga caviar, American chefs are going domestic. It’s not exactly a deprivation experience: Roe from trout, salmon, whitefish, paddlefish and sturgeon can be outstanding. F&W identifies the best in a taste test, and Grace Parisi creates a tasty recipe starring plump and briny orange salmon eggs.

Taste Test

BEST OF 22 CAVIARS

Seattle Caviar’s crisp, apricot-hued golden whitefish roe from Montana’s Flathead Lake has a lovely mild flavor. The paddlefish caviar (from a sturgeon cousin) resembles steel-gray Caspian sevruga and has a delicate earthy taste and silky texture. DETAILS Golden whitefish roe, $27 for 4 oz; paddlefish caviar, $25 per oz; caviar.com.

Sunburst Trout, a company based in North Carolina, sells small, juicy orange trout caviar with a subtle trout flavor. DETAILS $28 for 2 oz; sunbursttrout.com.

Tsar Nicoulai sustainably farms its white sturgeon Select California Estate Osetra, then sells its nutty, creamy roe to superstar chefs like Wolfgang Puck. DETAILS $65 per oz; tsarnicoulai.com.

Petrovich Caviar offers a sweet and buttery onyx-colored roe from hackleback sturgeon in the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. DETAILS $16 per oz; surfasonline.com.

Caviarteria’s large salmon eggs (from Alaskan chum) have a clean flavor and excellent pop. DETAILS $15 for 3.5 oz; caviarteria.com.

Published January 2006
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