TOP OF THE POPS
The taste and texture of salmon roe deliver a delightful mouthful, writes STEVE MANFREDI.
My daughter has always loved eggs, from the gooey hen’s eggs she dips her toast “soldiers” into, to the somewhat smaller raw salmon eggs she has been known to eat with a teaspoon straight from the jar.
She developed a liking for salmon eggs – also called roe – when she was eight. I used to keep a small jar for her in the fridge as an after-school snack. It was the salty, fishy taste and the way the pearls popped in the mouth that made them so appealing to her. And it kept her away from the afternoon sugar hit.
Before this column starts to resemble a parenting blog, I should add some context. My daughter’s fish-egg habit coincided with the start of their production in Tasmania, albeit in small quantities, principally for the restaurant market. She was a restaurant kid and she ate a lot of things her friends considered weird.
Back then, salmon roe was a byproduct of the whole fish, as it remains in large part today. This means the eggs are removed as the fish are killed.
The alternative is “hand milking”, where the salmon are anaesthetised by being placed in water laced with clove oil. As the sedated salmon are lifted from the bath, the eggs flow out, aided by gentle massaging. Once “milked”, the fish recover in tanks before being placed back in their ponds, ready for next time.
SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH SALMON ROE
Crack eggs in a bowl. Add cream, a little salt and pepper and beat with a fork. Place butter in a non-stick saucepan on low heat. When melted, add eggs and keep stirring as they cook slowly. They’ll eventually change from being liquid and runny to firm and creamy. Grill bread and place on four plates. Spoon scrambled eggs on top. Finish with salmon roe, sprinkled with finely chopped chives.
Serves 4 for breakfast
POACHED SALMON WITH AUTUMN VEGETABLES AND SALMON ROE
Ensure the salmon pieces are cut from the centre of the fish and are all the same thickness. This is important so all portions cook equally. Ocean trout and roe can be used instead of salmon.
Remove skin from salmon pieces and ensure all bones are removed. Set aside. Place vegetables in a pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and keep cooking until vegetables are tender, so a knife can pierce the flesh easily. Drain, season with salt and pepper, mix and keep warm. Place fish stock in a saucepan that is wide enough to contain salmon without pieces touching each other. Bring to the boil and gently place in fish pieces. Return to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and continue simmering gently for two minutes. Remove fish, drain and place each piece on a serving plate. Arrange cooked vegetables evenly across the plate. Mix oil with parsley and dress each fish. Top with roe.
Serves 4 as a main course
Wine Semillon-sauvignon blanc blend