Why You Should Skip The Metal Bowl When Serving Caviar

Caviar on blinis
Caviar on blinis - Synergee/Getty Images

Caviar: It's expensive, it's salty, and holy cow is it finicky. Purists will tell you that caviar shouldn't be eaten with anything but a shot of high quality, freezing cold vodka. They're probably right, so next time you crack open a tin of sturgeon eggs, make sure you're really committed to the bit. While you may not need a cravat to enjoy your bump of caviar, you'll definitely want to make sure you're serving it correctly -- which is to say, avoid metal at all costs. Seriously: Keep the silver utensils and serving dishes away from the caviar; that is, unless you like acrid, metallic, gooey roe.

Many people swear by using mother-of-pearl when serving caviar. It not only elevates the presentation, but it negates any gross imparting of weird or off flavors when eating it. This is because metal can corrupt the delicate flavors of the roe. The eggs are inherently lightly salty, and can come across as umami or even nutty on the palate. But this can go entirely wrong if your caviar isn't handled properly.

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How To Serve Caviar

Iced caviar with spoon
Iced caviar with spoon - Jostaphot/Getty Images

So how do you serve caviar? On ice. You can use a chilled plate, or you can acquire a caviar-specific dish and serve it on a bed of crushed ice. You can use ceramic or other kinds of glass to serve the caviar in. Some serving dishes are made of mother-of-pearl, just as there are serving spoons of the same material. Mother-of-pearl is inert in its reactivity to the caviar -- or rather, caviar does not react to the mother-of-pearl. Some metals like silver conduct low electrical current, which can destroy the flavor of caviar. So even though it would seem caviar and silver should go together like peanut butter and jelly, the combination is more like anchovies and chocolate.

Caviar is renowned as a luxury treat. Depending on what kind of caviar you're buying -- a tin of Royal Ossetra can cost you upwards of a grand -- it's a dish you'll want to take great care with so you get your money's worth. Like many luxury items, there are iffy legalities and ethics surrounding some of the practices of roe harvesting. So, before you even get to deciding what kind of dish to put it in, and if this kind of thing matters to you, do your due diligence in finding high quality, ethically-sourced caviar.

Champagne Wishes And Caviar Dreams

Mother of pearl spoon caviar
Mother of pearl spoon caviar - MaraZe/Shutterstock

You may be wondering, how is it that caviar can be sold and distributed in metal tins but somehow serving it in a metal dish is a crime? This is because the metal tins that caviar comes in are lined and the caviar never touches the tin directly. Roe is quite fragile as well, so metal utensils or dishes can bruise or even break the roe and cause it to become overly wet and slimy. The goal is to be gentle with the eggs right up until you pop them with your mouth.

You can just as easily serve and eat caviar with a plastic spoon, though it may not conform to the aesthetic you're trying to get across. But there are no rules against using plastic, and if you're not trying to prove anything, go for it. Good food is, after all, about the flavor -- so, keep grandma's silver dishes in the cupboard the next time you break out the caviar.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.