Curing Salmon Roe

Curing Salmon Roe CaviarI have always loved caviar, the slight briny flavor of the sea with a unique texture of the eggs, first loose on your tongue, then the burst of flavor as each egg pops open.  There are not a lot of recipes or techniques that share how fish eggs are transformed into the luxurious caviar. I’m sure you’ve looked this up on the internet and seen how to make fish eggs into bait.  This is not what you don’t want to do or eat.

 

This is a recipe that will become a wonderful base recipe and show you the step by step technique of transforming salmon roe (eggs) into caviar.  If you have a friend or family member who fishes for Salmon, ask them if you can have the roe (only in the female salmon).  If this isn’t an option, contact your local fishmonger and during Salmon season (in the month of May) and order some.

 

This technique can be used with all types of pacific wild salmon (King [Chinnock], Silver [Coho], Red [Sockeye], Pink [Humpy] or Chum [Dog]).  Not that the name would make you think so, but Chum salmon has some of the best roe to make caviar, as their egg sacks or skeins are full flavored and large in size.

 

A single skein (egg sake) will weight around a pound and make about 16 ounces of salmon caviar.  To get more information on wild Alaskan salmon, please check out our friends at Copper River Salmon.

Curing Salmon Roe
Curing Salmon Roe
Votes: 6
Rating: 3.33
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
This technique will teach you how to take fresh salmon roe and turn it into amazing salmon caviar.
Servings Prep Time
16 guests 5 minutes
Passive Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
16 guests 5 minutes
Passive Time
30 minutes
Curing Salmon Roe
Curing Salmon Roe
Votes: 6
Rating: 3.33
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
This technique will teach you how to take fresh salmon roe and turn it into amazing salmon caviar.
Servings Prep Time
16 guests 5 minutes
Passive Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
16 guests 5 minutes
Passive Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: guests
Units:
Instructions
  • To begin, in a stainless steel or glass bowl large enough to hold 3 ½ quarts; add the kosher salt and 3 quarts of 100°F/38°C degree water, whisking until the salt has dissolved. Next, unwrap the skein or egg sack if bought from a fish market or remove from the fish if you are a fisherman. Rinse the skein under cool running water, cleaning the sack of any residual blood.
    Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • You will notice a thin membrane that holds the roe in the sack.
    Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • Add the sack to the brine mixture.
    Curing Salmon Roe
  • When you add the skein to the salt brine, the membrane and eggs will turn from a clear reddish orange to a cloudy orange color.
    Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • This is the salt reacting with the membrane. Make sure that the skein is fully covered by the brine. Let this sit for 30 minutes, to cure the eggs.
  • Have a second stainless steel or glass bowl ready with a strainer or small colander. After 30 minutes, remove the skein from the brine, reserving the brine for later. Add the sack to the bowl and rinse off the brine under warm water.
    Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • Next, the membrane needs to be removed. Using your fingers, pick the membrane and pull away from you, making sure the skein is under the bowl and strainer.
    Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • Inside the sack are smaller membranes holding the eggs together. These also must be removed.
    Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • Once all the membranes have been removed from the eggs, the eggs must be rinsed several times, to remove any other membranes that might be on each egg.
    Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • A fine skimmer or other sieve will make this process.
    Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • After you have removed all the membranes and rinsed the eggs well, drip the roe into the reserved salt brine again. The color of the eggs will turn from cloudy.
    Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • to clear. It's like magic.
    Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • Strain the eggs out of the brine and add to a clean glass jar. This caviar should last for 7-14 days if refrigerated at 34 degrees or below. To keep the caviar as long as possible, place the jar into a container of crushed ice, keeping it colder than the standard refrigerator is set too. Do not freeze the caviar or the texture will be ruined.
    Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • Curing Salmon Roe Caviar
  • Curing Salmon Roe into Caviar
Recipe Notes

Curing Salmon Roe - Making CaviarTripel Cured Salmon RoeFirestone Walker Double DBA Cured Salmon Caviar

Variations and Other Uses for this Recipe:

This recipe is simply a basic brine with not a lot of external flavor, other than the dominant essence of the salmon eggs.  If you would like to add some complexity, try the Westmalle Tripel Cured Salmon Caviar or Firestone Walker Double DBA Cured Salon Caviar recipe.  This caviar isn’t as salty as commercial caviars, which I like better.  Because of the lack of salt and curing of the roe, this caviar will only last about 2 weeks.

Sean Z. Paxton

7 Responses to “Curing Salmon Roe

  • Arthur Bolton
    5 months ago

    JUST MADE SOME, WONDERFULL!, I used eggs from Red Salmon taken from the Kenai river…. I love the wonderfully texture and light salt taste..

    • Thanks Arthur! I love this recipe and wish I had more access to whole salmon during their trip home…

      • Caught 3 chum salmon and 1 coho salmon in the last month on Mackenzie River. Just made some, taste so delicious! Now I know what to do with salmon eggs! Thanks for the recipe

  • I have found that by chilling the fresh skiens and brining in cold water with or without salt,then using a sive colander to press or rake the skiens over the 1/4-3/8 in colander removes the membranes almost completely. Very little rinsing is required afterwards. I found the perfect colander at Save u More store on kbeach rd. in Soldotna. Ak. It works super with less rinsing. I like to prosses the eggs as fresh as possible.
    To put a light smoke flavor to the cleaned roe . I will place them on a tray and smoke them lightly for about 30 min with low heat,using apple and alder chips. Good luck

  • Help, I froze the sock eye egg sack of roe as I cleaned the fish. Have I ruined the roe? Lydia in Idaho

    • Hi Lydia,

      Your skein or egg sack should be fine, as long as there is no freezer burn. Thaw the egg sack overnight in the refrigerator and follow the recipe as described. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply Text

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *