Nothing screams luxury like caviar. Salty yet sweet, rich eggs that pop in your mouth, black sturgeon roe is unimitable, as it is precious and inaccessible for many. But did you know that there are more ways than one to get your caviar hit - at a lower price point as well?
What is pressed caviar?
Pressed caviar, called Payusnaya in Russian, is a concentrated caviar paste typically made from damaged sturgeon roe of various grades. The eggs, broken while extracting them from the natural sacs of the sturgeon fish, are put together, salted, drained for excess moisture and pressed to create a strong black paste that resembles shoe polish.
It is not something new - the process of making payusnaya is an ancient Russian technique that follows many years of tradition and rare know-how. The special method compacts the caviar to around one-seventh of its original volume and allows the precious roe to be preserved for up to six months. Many modern day pressed caviar comes from damaged eggs, but true payusnaya is said to be have been made with regular sturgeon roe.
Needless to say, while this modern pressed caviar might lack the popping texture of regular caviar, it is definitely not short on taste. Stronger and more concentrated, this inky black jam has a taffy like quality that packs a punch.
How to use pressed caviar
In recent years many companies have jumped on the pressed caviar wagon, satisfying caviar lovers of all tastes.
Apart from the traditional paste variety, it is also found pressed into small cubes packed in oil that are equally easy to use in canapés as they are mixed into a pasta sauce.
Pressed caviar is also found in a bar format that resembles a block of chocolate. It can be sliced or grated just like you would with truffles, and added to pasta, eggs, or meat.
Rather than eating it directly by the spoon, use it as a seasoning in a wide variety of dishes. Its stronger flavour means you can use less and still enjoy the caviar taste.