Caviar Guide by Marky's
American Hackleback Caviar profile
- USA, Mississippi and Ohio
- Rich charcoal black colored pearls with hints of seaweed beads
- Velvety, small to medium sized
- Sweet ocean flavor, hints of nut
- Smooth, buttery finish
- Great served alone on a mother of pearl spoon or on a blini with crème fraiche
Drinks: champagne brut or dry white wine Suggested use: It’s small, black beads are pleasant to the palate, have a mild flavor with hints of sweetness and meet the expectations of caviar explorers. This is an excellent choice for first timers. Its comparably low price, slightly more than paddlefish, excellent quality and great taste are both surprising and impressive. However, due to its limited availability, Hackleback caviar is generally not recommended for commercial purposes, but can be suggested for smaller events, such as private birthday parties, family holiday dinners, etc. Hackleback caviar is one of the most sought-after American caviars. It could definitely be a great choice for a restaurant or a caviar bar as one of their menu choices, served as a separate dish or added to hors d’oeuvres or appetizers.
Note: Hackleback caviar is also known and marketed as American wild sturgeon caviar.
American Hackleback Caviar
Among those who seek an affordable alternative to Sevruga and Osetra caviars from the Caspian Sea, American Hackleback holds one of the top spots. The source of this domestic caviar is our own American Hackleback sturgeon, also known as the Shovelnose, Sand Sturgeon, and Switchtail. The species' origin naturally influences the price of its caviar.
Hackleback sturgeon caviar has been known and highly praised for many years. Over the past century and a half it has even been successfully exported to Europe and Asia. The modern height of its popularity, however, stems from the ban on the import of Caspian sturgeon caviar, implemented to counteract the overexploitation of the Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga sturgeons and the resulting shortage of stock and rise in the price of caviar. It has proved fortuitous that Hackleback sturgeon caviar is highly reminiscent of Sevruga and echoes the nutty flavor it is prized for. Due to the domestic source of Hackleback caviar, its prices are nowhere near the extravagance of Sevruga and Osetra. The low price of this American caviar makes Hackleback a very popular and wallet friendly substitute to the more expensive kinds of caviar, ideal for large cocktail parties. It is often advertised as "Russian Style Caviar," meaning that it is processed according to "Malossol" standards: using only a small amount of pure sea salt. See also other american caviar - bowfin caviar
About the Hackleback
Hackleback (Scaphirhynchus Platorynchus) is also known as the Shovelnose Sturgeon. Hackleback is the smallest freshwater sturgeon native to the Unites States. It is listed as a “vulnerable” species on the IUCN Red List and is protected by CITES. This sturgeon reaches only 39 - 42.5 inches in length and weighs about 11 lb (can also reach up to 14lb). The life span in a wild is 40 years. Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 7 and males at the age of 5. Adult fish spawn every year. The spawning period is April through early July. Hackleback is Native to Missouri and Mississippi River systems. Hackleback feeds on the aquatic insect larvae of mayflies, caddis, midge etc.
Hackleback is one a small number of wild species of fish open to commercial fishing in the United States, and the only sturgeon. The main populations of the Hackleback sturgeon are found in the waters of the Missouri and Mississippi River systems. Among the reasons for its abundance in the wild are the brief four year maturity period of the females, the lack of long distance migrations during its spawning period, and the absence of dams cutting off its traditional spawning routes.
The Hackleback sturgeon itself is the smallest of the sturgeons, especially as compared to its Caspian relatives. The largest recorded specimen was 1 m long and weighed about 4.5 kg, and the standard measurements of an adult fish are 50-85 cm and 2.5 kg. The Hackleback has no scales (regrettably excluding it from a Kosher diet under Kashrut restrictions), being instead equipped with rows of bony scutes along its sides. Its snout has a distinctive shovel-like shape to which it owes its common name of Shovelhead. This design feature helps the fish to dig into river sediment in search of crustaceans to eat. Another peculiarity, responsible for the Hackleback's label as the Switchtail, is a long, thin filament on the upper lobe of its tail fin.