Showing posts from September, 2011

Ikura Chronicles: Salmon Caviar

Ikura, or marinated salmon roe, is a popular item in Japanese cuisine.  The salmon eggs are most commonly marinated in a soy sauce and sake mixture and served uncooked.  Frequently served as nigiri, they are also a common addition to rice dishes like chirashi or donburis.

As a young boy fishing with my father, we would often use a jar of prepared salmon eggs for fishing.  They would have names like "Balls O Fire" but were essentially the same thing as ikura:  salmon eggs, albeit lower quality, that had been processed to be used as bait.  It took quite some time until I was older and had more experience with Japanese cuisine to truly appreciate the roe as a delicacy and not just "for the fishes."

The name ikura is actually a borrowed word from the Russian word "ikra," which means caviar.  Given how the best caviar often originates from the Russian area, the name seems appropriate.  Whatever the name, marinated salmon eggs are a common delicacy in a wide v…