What you need to know about salmon roe.

What you need to know about salmon roe.

Often called caviar's little cousin salmon roe or ikra or ikura is harvested from female fish.

In Germany, a technique of harvesting roe without killing the fish has been developed, and some roe and caviar farms around the globe are experimenting with this method.

Wild salmon’s journey through the ocean creates fantastically juicy, large, plump, orange colored roe. Russians and Scandinavians used to cure and salt it. Today Americans mostly know it from sushi places' nigiri sushi. Popular as sushi, these savory, briny spheres also make great garnishes for smoked salmon, sea urchins and cold fish dishes. Stir into pastas for a robust, nuanced flavor.

Yet. There are numerous ways to serve salmon roe. The one rule that we suggest following is to keep it cold, or at least cool. Warm or cooked roe is often unpalatable and can change the texture of the roe. To determine the quality of salmon roe, put one piece in your mouth and press it against your hard palate. It should pop and deliver a crisp, slightly fishy, slightly salty flavor. Overly salty roe or fish eggs that are too soft are not of good quality. A little oil is expected, but it should not be overwhelming.