The rivers from Russia’s north hold a rich treasure: the red caviar, which is extracted from salmon eggs and delights the palate worldwide. Russia TODAY gives a small introduction to the red gold.
The red caviar, Russia’s famous delicacy, found its way to the Russian food tables comparatively late – around the same time as the potato, thus in the 18th century. However, unlike potatoes, the Russians have always had a very positive relationship with the fish and the fish roe and the dishes prepared from it.
With the final integration of the regions of the Far East into the Russian Empire, its subjects became their own for this new horsd’oeuvre, and soon tens of thousands of tons of this red gold were transported to the European part of the country.
In the northern waters of the European part of the country there have always been various salmon species and the red caviar was known there and was also eaten. However, its consumption was significantly lower than that of the famous Russian black caviar, without which one could not imagine any celebration at that time – from the convivial evening in the family circle to the opulent banquet.
Different fish – different caviar
The silver salmon, got its name thanks to its bright silver scales and delivers the most expensive red caviar. With its scarlet colour, it is considered the best of caviar varieties. The silver salmon is a fish that is also well known in North America, because it is not only in the Far East, but also in Alaska. It cannot be bred because it dies after spawning.
The Arctic Saichar is a legend among the fish. Someone who has pulled an arctic char from the water at least once in his life is considered by anglers to be a master of the extra class. The Arctic Sea char lives in the depths of ladoga and onegasees in the north of the European part of Russia. It is a very shy fish and can only be found at a depth between 70 and 150 meters, as it never gets closer to the water surface. Paradoxically, the culinary quality of the Arctic char is not particularly high: its meat is somewhat bland compared to other salmon fish, its caviar has a pale yellow color.
The keta or Siberian salmon is quite different – it is the most common supplier of red caviar. When the swarm leaves the Pacific Ocean for spawning towards the Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin Island, it happens that the river is not visible for fish. In some areas of the region, the locals only go fishing with a bucket and take out as many animals as they need with their bare hands. It is easy to understand that red caviar is by no means such a delicacy in these regions as in the European part of the country, several thousand kilometres away.