While certain food items are extremely popular in some parts of the world, they would be considered gross or even inedible in others.
Take, for example, haggis or blood sausage. And then there’s roe.
So, if you’ve never had roe before and are wondering what does roe taste like? Don’t worry.
You aren’t alone.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the taste of roe, as well as some tips on how to cook and serve it.
What is Roe?
Roe simply refers to the eggs of a fish or other aquatic animals, including shrimp, squid, sea urchins, or scallops.
It can also refer to a male fish’s milt (sperm).
While the eggs from a female ovary are known as hard roe, the milt of a male fish is called soft roe.
Roe from sturgeon or paddlefish is also used, while the roe of salmon and capelin have different names: ikura (salmon) and masago (capelin).
Often considered a highly prized delicacy, roe is popular in many Asian countries, especially in Korean cuisines.
Now, many people consider roe and caviar the same thing.
However, there is a distinct difference:
- Caviar is the salted eggs of a sturgeon fish, while roe can come from any fish or seafood.
- Caviar is more expensive than roe because it is rarer and considered a luxury food, while roe is more common and less expensive than the former.
Among the wide varieties, some of the most popular fish roes are the Masago, Ikura, Mentaiko, and Tobiko.
What Does Roe Taste Like?
Generally, roe and caviar taste more or less the same.
The difference lies in their texture.
Roe has a softer texture that pops/bursts on biting.
On the other hand, caviar has a firmer texture, and it melts like butter in your mouth.
However, if you’ve never tried roe before, then we don’t think you’ve tasted caviar too.
Roe generally has a slightly salty taste that reminds you of the ocean.
The distinct taste of the sea is due to the high amount of salt it contains.
It, of course, is an acquired taste.
So, if you’re not used to it, the taste may be a bit too overwhelming for you.
The taste of roe also depends on the fish it came from as well as how it was prepared.
For example, Ikura (salmon roe) has a light and delicate flavor with a slightly sweet finish.
In contrast, Mentaiko (cod roe) is saltier and savory with a hint of spice as it’s usually marinated.
Other than its taste, roe is also celebrated for the many health benefits it offers.
Some of the health benefits of roe include:
- Good source of protein and essential amino acids.
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health.
- Contains selenium, a mineral that plays a role in thyroid function and metabolism.
- Loaded with vitamins A, B12, and D, which are important for immunity, bone health, and cell growth.
How to Cook and Serve Roe?
Even though you’ve never cooked with roe before, you’ll actually be surprised by how easy it is to work with.
You can cook it in many different ways, and it’s also very versatile.
But before cooking it, give the roe a good rinse in a bowl of water.
The most common way is to simply pan-fry it.
It’ll help bring out its flavor and create a crispy texture on the outside.
Simply heat some oil in a pan over medium heat, and then add the roe.
Cook it for a few minutes until it’s crispy and golden brown.
Another popular way to cook roe is by poaching it.
This method is often used for softer roes like the ones from salmon or trout.
To poach roe, simply add it to a pan of boiling water and cook for a few minutes until it’s done.
If you want to keep it simple, you can also serve the roe raw, which is considered the best way to enjoy its delicate flavor.
As a general rule of thumb, roe takes just about 10 minutes to be completely cooked.
You can serve it on its own as an appetizer or add it to sushi or sashimi.
It’s also a great addition to salads and pasta dishes.
Since you’ve reached the end of the post, we hope you’ve learned a thing or two about roe.
What do you think now that you know what roe is and what to expect from it? Does this prized delicacy deserve a place on your table?
If you’ve decided to give it a try, kudos.
Roe is definitely an acquired taste, but we think it’s worth it.
After all, not only is it delicious, but it’s healthy too.
So, head to your nearest Asian grocery store and pick up some roe today.