Fish roe is a great delicacy and an indispensable part of Finnish Christmas cuisine.
While caviar, the king of roes, is very seldom affordable, one can substitute it with less expensive roes like that of vendace, whitefish, burbot, rainbow trout or salmon.
In picture on right: rainbow trout roe canapés.
Top-quality processed roe must be absolutely fresh, and the individual eggs unbroken. When bitten, they must burst easily and feel soft, not at all rubbery or hard.
The roe must have a pleasant, not fishy, taste and scent, and there should not be extra liquid visible among the eggs.
In pictures below: a traditional Finnish way of serving vendace roe mixed with smetana and finely chopped onion.
Add smetana and onion
to the roe...
...mix, chill and serve.
If the individual fish eggs are broken and the roe is soggy and wet, you might still be able to fix it by straining the roe through a very fine sieve to remove
the extra liquid. However, you should avoid buying this kind of roe altogether.
Commercially sold roe is usually frozen in order to kill any possible parasites living in it that might be harmful to humans.
There are many opinions on how different roes
should be eaten, whether plain or with additives. Below is one suggestion for serving roe, especially suitable for Christmas dinner.
250 g vendace, salmon or rainbow trout roe
100 - 200 ml smetana or crème fraîche
finely chopped onion to taste
If the roe is frozen, let it thaw in refrigerator overnight. Mix the roe with smetana or crème fraîche, add some onion to taste. You may also add some white pepper, salt and/or
a few drops of fresh lemon juice, but very carefully and sparingly so as not to conceal the taste of roe.
Cover the mixture and place in refrigerator until the smetana has thickened a bit. Serve the roe as hors d'uvre spooned on fresh, buttered French or rye bread slices or canapés (see right), as a part of assorted fish platter, or brush small croustades with melted butter and fill with the roe mixture. Garnish with dill sprigs.
In picture on right: salmon roe and smetana canapés.
See additional information about fish roe.
Recipe source: family recipe/traditional Finnish recipe.