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Rainbow trout caviar. Photo courtesy The Little Pearl.
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May 2005
Last updated September 2010

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Fish, Seafood & Caviar

Caviar Glossary

Page 10: Tobiko, Whitefish Caviar, White Sturgeon & Other Terms From T To Z

 

This is Page 10 of a ten-page glossary. If you’d like to suggest additional words for inclusion, or think we should consider other definitions than those we have provided, use the Contact Us link on this page. You may also enjoy one of our 60+ other food glossaries.

Click on a letter to get to the appropriate glossary page.

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BEYOND CAVIAR, THERE ARE 60+ OTHER FOOD GLOSSARIES.
SEE THEM HERE.

 

TARAMA
Carp roe. The tiny orange eggs make a very popular Greek dip, taramasalata, which is pink in color.

TEXAS CAVIAR
A dip made with black-eyed peas, tomato, onions, chiles and cilantro, served with tortilla chips. It contains no caviar.


TOBIKO or FLYING FISH ROE
A popular sushi ingredient, as both a garnish and in a gunkan-maki or “battleship roll.” Tobiko caviar comes from the flying fish of Iceland and the Pacific Ocean. It has a crunchy texture and more volume than capelin roe (masago). The pale roe is colored, with black, gold, orange, red. It is also spiced and flavored. Look for spicy orange tobiko, pale green wasabi-flavored tobiko, yellow citrus- ginger-and yuzu-flavored tobiko, pale red ume (plum) tobiko. It can often be found in specialty food stores. See our Sushi Glossary.

 

 

Black tobiko caviar. Photo courtesy of MackenzieLtd.com.

TRANSMONTANUS REX CAVIAR
See white sturgeon, below.

OOO or TRIPLE ZERO CAVIAR
Caspian caviar is graded by color on a scale from 000 to 0. In this system 000 is the lightest, silvery pale grey; 00 is medium gray; and 0 is black. Although the taste is the same regardless of hue, the lighter caviars are more highly prized and priced than the darker ones. Thus, the rarest and most expensive caviar one could buy is Beluga 000 (assuming one were in one of the Caspian Sea border countries, since export is banned). While not established scientifically, some industry experts believe that younger sturgeons produce the lighter eggs. They would also weigh less and have less roe, which could account for the higher price. However, with the Osetra sturgeon it is noticed that lighter color eggs come from older fish.

 

This Beluga caviar from CaviarStar.com earns an 000 rating for its beautiful grey color.

TROUT CAVIAR or TROUT ROE
From the Great Lakes of North America, trout caviar is an inexpensive caviar option. It yellow or orange, with a salty flavor and a somewhat a sticky texture. A major producer is Sunburst Trout Farm in Canton, North Carolina, which cultures bright orange rainbow trout.

WHITEFISH CAVIAR or
WHITEFISH ROE

See Golden Whitefish Caviar.

 
Trout caviar available at CaviarStar.com.

WHITE STURGEON CAVIAR
The white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus, “sturgeon beyond the mountains”) is an American sturgeon, also known as the California white sturgeon, Columbia sturgeon, Oregon sturgeon, Pacific sturgeon and Sacramento sturgeon, after the many locales where it is found. It lives wild along the west coast of North America from the Aleutian Islands to Central California, and was originally found as far south as Mexico. It is being farmed in California, Idaho, France, Israel and other locations. The fish is related to the Caspian Osetra sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) and the caviar is similar; depending on its origin and terroir, flavors will vary.

 
White sturgeon caviar. Photo courtesy of BackyardGardener.com.

The Israeli-farmed white sturgeon caviar we have tried has had the closest similarity to Caspian Osetra. But perhaps our favorite caviar, now that Caspian is for all intents and purposes gone, is the Transmontanus rex (“King of the White Sturgeon”). This sturgeon from Idaho has hints of beluga flavor and is caviar heaven. While a record 2,000 pound, 20-foot “T-Rex” was found in Idaho’s Columbia River, the fish in the farms tend to range from 100 to 200  pounds at caviar harvest. See American Sturgeon Caviar/California Osetra Caviar.

 

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