How to Cook Salmon Roe

Shirasu Ikura Don

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Cured salmon roe is eaten as caviar or sushi, known as ikura, most frequently. The small orange bubbles have a sweet, salty taste and pop on your tongue as you eat them. Salmon caviar is an expensive treat. If you're lucky enough to find some fresh salmon roe when you're fishing or purchase some from a fishmonger, you can cure the eggs yourself to cook salmon roe that is ready for eating.

Pour 1 gallon cold water and salt into a large glass or stainless steel bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until the salt has dissolved.

Rub two skeins of fresh salmon roe against the mesh of a wire strainer with 1/4-inch holes to release the eggs from the egg sack. Set the strainer over a bowl as you work to catch the eggs. Take care not to separate the membrane from the egg sack. Try to only get eggs in the bowl, leaving behind the intact sack. Don't worry if you leave a few eggs behind. Discard the egg sack.

Pour the brine over the eggs and allow the eggs to soak for 12 minutes. Stir the brine occasionally during the soaking time.

As the eggs are soaking, use a clean pair of tweezers to remove any pieces of membrane or broken eggshells that are in the bowl.

Drain the eggs in a fine mesh colander over the sink. Rinse the eggs with cool water and allow them to drain over the sink for two or three minutes. Set the colander over a bowl and wrap the entire top of the colander and bowl in plastic wrap. Place the bowl and colander in the refrigerator and allow the eggs to continue to drain, chilled, for eight to 12 hours.

Pour the eggs gently into a clean bowl. Stir in just enough olive oil to coat the eggs and make them shiny.

Serve the salmon roe with cream cheese and crackers for a caviar appetizer or serve a small spoonful of the roe on top of seaweed-wrapped rice for tasty ikura sushi.