FISH ROES - what's available at the market...
Over the last few weeks cod, haddock and coley roe (or eggs) have been available fresh at Billingsgate. These are purchased, amongst others, by fish and chip merchants who wrap it in muslin, poach it very gently and then press and cool the roe. It is then sliced into thick rounds, paneed in flour, eggs and crumb and deep fried.
Other roe include herring milt (the male roe) both fresh and frozen: pan-fried in butter with capers, parsley and squeeze of lemon and served on toast - great supper dish.
Cods roe is also smoked: the best is arguably from Iceland as the membrane around the roe is slightly thicker and holds the eggs in place. Either spread over hot buttered toast with a squeeze of lemon. or whizzed to a creamy paste with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and a slice of bread.
There are plenty of fish eggs sold in the jar too: Capelin roe (or TOBIKO) is popular with the Japanese and tossed into noodles. These come coloured red, gold, black and green - by the addition of colour. Green tobiko roe has the addition of wasabi and this flavour comes through.
Avrenka roe comes with the MSC logo. This is a formed smoked herring roe and great for the use in topping canapes as it is doesn't seep colour.
Salmon roe mainly comes from Keta (Pacific species of salmon) it has deep coral coloured pearls in a membrane. This is perfect stirred into scrambled eggs and we have used it recently spooned over grilled queenie scallops with a lemon butter. It is also an excellent topping for Eggs Benedict Royale (smoked salmon on an toasted English muffin topped with poached egg and hollandaise)
Trout roe is smaller deep coral colour of salmon, but smaller pearls. It is surprishly similar to salmon roe - this - along with salmon is popular with the Eastern European community
Lump fish roe are the eggs from an extraordinary looking fish - pale grey in colour with a deep belly. They dye it red or black and it is used to top canapes.
If you have a very deep pocket there is also caviar available from Billingsgate. True caviar comes from the eggs of sturgeon and for centuries has come from fish taken from the Caspian Sea. This has declined steadily and the market is now focusing on farmed sturgeon from a number of countries for caviar.
The three species available at Billingsgate include: Beluga, Osceitra and Acipenser (also known as Sevruag). These roes differ in texture and egg size - Beluga being the largest. The enjoyment of these is down to personal taste - but the cost is a major factor. Beluga is the most expensive and acipenser the least, but the cost can be prohibitive for many budgets...
Sea urchin roe is also available by the jar., ready to stir into pasta,
and finally - there was a brief appearance recently of smoked mullet in a wax coating. This is shredded over pasta and quite delivious - but another costly treat!
So... lots of things to try...