Ikura: Cured Salmon Roe

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There is one food in the world that will make me stand in the door of an open fridge with a spoon sneaking bites all day long. Usually it is so ridiculously expensive that it is taken in small portions once in a rare while. When I discovered that Simon, my Columbia River Fish Co. Treaty 1855 fisherman sells salmon roe when it is in season I had to learn how to make ikura myself. It takes a bit of time to get the eggs clean, but start with less than a pound, or 1 or 2 bunches or sacks of roe to make it more quickly.

Here is the recipe:

  • Fresh salmon roe sacks
  • Hot water
  • Sea salt or grey salt

1. Place the salmon roe in a glass bowl so that you can see everything you are doing. Add water that is hot enough so that you can just place your hands in it, the hotter the better. Allow to soak for a few minutes.

2. Begin turning the sacks inside out and removing the eggs from the membrane. The hot water will have toughened them, but they will still be rather delicate. Remove all and any membrane as you release the eggs into the bowl.

3. Stir the roe: pick and rinse any membrane out of the roe. This will take patience and several rounds of water. The roe sinks and the membrane floats to the top. Have patience and in a few rounds you will have all the membrane out. A strainer is a good tool for getting the last bits of membrane.

4. Pour the water off and add a teaspoon of salt. You will see the opaque eggs turn a bright orange right away. Place in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes

5. Add another scant teaspoon of salt. Pour into a sieve and allow to drain for one hour in the fridge in a bowl.

It is ready to eat! I put it in a jar, mix it into salads and put it on eggs for breakfast. If I have made enough for several jars add a tablespoon of sake to the jar you plan to keep longest. Mine never lasts more than 4 days but can go a day or two longer with the sake. One of the most delicious foods I have EVER made! With the help of salmon of course!