Monday, August 9, 2010

Cured coho salmon roe and botargo

The sockeye and coho are running in full swing now. So along with fresh salmon everyday, comes my little friend. Roe! Cured a little tonight to bring up to dawson city to share with some friends this coming weekend. I also dry cured one whole sack for slicing.

Botargo is a Italian pantry staple and is made by curing the whole roe sack with salt, turning it daily till moisture is removed, rolled up like a sausage and shaved like salumi. Cause its such a little sack of eggs that im doing, I can do the whole process in a couple days. I also like to cold smoke my botargo Once cured and dried you can use it on anything you like, pizza, grilled cheese sandwich, pastas, taramasalata- a Greek specialty, sushi, alone or in a sauce etc.. I will post pics of the process and finished product in a couple days. ish...

To cure the roe I do as follows. There is lots of different ways to do it, I like this way cause it does not take away from the flavor of the roe.

I make a strong brine.

250g of salt to 1000g of water

I remove the membrane and veins from the eggs and place in the chilled brine for 10-15 minutes or until cured. they go a little transparent as they cure, err on the side of a little less time than a little more time. The best cured roe is not salty at all so be careful.

Rinse and drain them over night.

Store in a clean glass jar till used. There good for a couple of weeks done like this. Eat as much as you can and feel proud to live in Yukon where this hidden gem is often neglected.

This mornings load into the cold smoker. Venison strip loins, apricots, maple syrup and salt


  1. Jeffery that looks fantastic... even though I've never tried salmon roe, I bet it's tasty. You have it made up there. So many "gems" to harvest in your area. That's great... :)

  2. Thx cowgirl! I try to take advantage of as much as I can during our quick warm season. Still jealous of my southern friends come November though! :)

  3. Jeff, you are making my mouth water because I haven't had smoked salmon roe in many years, and my eyes water because I am in Dawson and you are not my friend.

  4. Bill, the roe that I cured for caviar is not smoked only the botarga is smoked.(sampled some today.....yum) The caviar has aged for 2 days now and is phenomenal! It will not last long this weekend. Never know, our paths may cross some day. Its a small Territory. lol

  5. Hi Jeffrey. So we caught coho salmon yesterday at Vedder River by Chilliwack(British Columbia). Got some good eggs from it they are the size if peas almost. I removed them from the membrane and took out all the veins inside and I did as you said. I soaked them in the cold salt water solutions 250g for 1litre. I left them in there for about 90 mins though. I rinsed them and now drying them overnight. Any suggestions on better drying techniques? Someone suggested laying them single layer on a newspaper would be best. I am using paper towel instead. I used all the eggs I got but not sure how they'll turn out. Would I have been able to freeze the sacks with the egss in them instead or is it best never to freeze them? I will comment again in a couple of days with the outcome. Thanks. Adeel Salim, Vancouver Canada

  6. Hi Adeel.
    Congrats on your coho salmon fishing. I personally like the pea sized roe better for eating. They will dry faster on a single layer of paper towel for sure, but be careful they don't stick to the paper towel! Check them every so often and when they look pretty dry remove the paper towel and let them finish drying on a plastic or stainless steel sheet pan. I use a fine mesh strainer and keep them over a bowl drip draining till almost dry then transfer them to another vessel to finish drying. I move them around to get as much moisture out as possible.

    As far as freezing goes, once its frozen you can still use it for cooking, but you can't cure them. There structure will have changed during the freeze thaw and they become mushy. I usually dry cure whole sacs for botargo if I'm not going to use or eat them soon. If you leaned towards a longer brine time, your roe may be a bit on the salty side, but will last much longer when jarred.

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