Caviar has long had the reputation of being the food of the wealthy elite and that persists to this day as well. However, things are changing, and no longer will dining on caviar require white tablecloths, mother-of-pearl spoons, and full tuxedos. Caviar is becoming more sustainable and much more accessible.
Sustainable caviar can be purchased from farmed sturgeon, and Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch has confirmed is the best sustainable choice. You can try Pearl Street Caviar’s Ossetra Caviar, which is $77 for 30 grams. If you can splurge a bit more, you can also try Island Creek Oysers’ Steling Two Color White Sturgeon Caviar, which is $150 for 50 grams.
There’s no need for the stuffy mother-of-pearl spoon often associated with eating caviar. According to Michael Passmore of Passmore Caviar, “A pocketknife works just fine [to serve caviar], as does a bag of chips.” You can use many utensils like stainless steel, glass, and wood without fearing that the taste will be impacted.
Caviar has a distinct briny flavor that pairs wonderfully with many other foods. Chefs are becoming more and more creative with the saline pop of flavor, adding it to foods like hot dogs, egg salad sandwiches, and pancakes. Ariel Arce, a New York City restaurateur keeps a tin on hand at all times to sprinkle onto dishes like crispy potatoes and roasted chicken.
You also don’t have to pair caviar with champagne, as ancient custom would dictate. Arce suggests pairing caviar with dry and crisp white wines. She also pairs caviar with sparkling tears like Minna’s Citrus Black Tea.
Miro Uskokovic, pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, likes to surprise guests’ taste buds by garnishing desserts with caviar. He explains: “I finish almost every dish with a salty component, and caviar offsets sweetness well.” He recommends trying caviar with vanilla ice cream or white chocolate.