Tuesday, April 3, 2012

RECIPE - Fried Fish Roe (Ovas de Peixe Fritas)

Fish roe, in other words - fish eggs, is considered a delicacy in many cultures in all parts of the world. The fame of Russian or Iranian caviar, and its astronomic price put sturgeon roe at the very top of the list of haut cuisine. Japanese sushi wouldn't be the same without the bright sparkly orange balls of flying fish roe (tobiko in Japanese) that dot the surface of many sushi rolls. Salmon roe has always been highly prized among the Amerindian tribes that lived, and live, along the coast of British Columbia and Alaska.

Brazilian food culture is not exempt from the appeal of fish roe. In coastal regions of Brazil, particularly along the lengthy coast of northeastern Brazil, one of the highlights of the local seafood bounty is fish roe. The roe from all the larger fish of these warm seas, robalo, badejo, pargo and more, is harvested and sold in fish markets right alongside filets, steaks, bones and heads. Nothing is wasted from the catch.
raw fish roe

Fortunately, unlike caviar, fish roe in northeastern Brazil isn't expensive. Because it is fragile and must be eaten shortly after the fish is landed, most of the roe is sold locally. Preserving fish roe for transport over distance requires either canning or salting and drying, both of which increase roe's price. But here in the northeast, roe is abundant, inexpensive and marvelously tasty.

The most common way to serve fish roe is to dust it gently with seasoned flour, then lightly fry it. Pure simplicity. The only seasonings are a bit of salt, plenty of fresh limes, and an optional sprinkling of chopped cilanto. The only trick to properly cooking fish roe is to make sure not to overcook it - a light touch is the right touch when it comes to roe in the frying pan.

This recipe can be used with any type of fish roe, as long as you can find it still in its membranous sac. It doesn't work for loose roe. Roe may not be displayed at your fishmongers, but if you ask, you might just find that there's some available. It's worth asking.
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RECIPE - Fried Fish Roe (Ovas de Peixe Fritas)
serves 2

12 oz (350 gr) fish roe, in its sac
juice of one lime
salt to taste
2 Tbsp all-purpose wheat flour
1 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
lime wedges to garnish
chopped cilantro leaves to garnish
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Season the roe with salt and lime juice, then dust completely with the flour. Reserve for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the fish roe. Adjust the heat if the oil begins to smoke. Fry the roe for about 8 minutes on one side, then very gently turn the roe over and fry for another 5 minutes.

Remove the roe from the frying pan, place on a serving platter, sprinkle with the optional cilantro of desired and serve with lime wedges.

2 comments:

  1. Seems to be delicious! Thanks for sharing!

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