Common wisdom says that fresh caviar will be superior to frozen caviar, but that is not always the case. With modern advances in blast freezing technology, a fishing vessel can harvest and preserve its catch at once, allowing it to stay at sea for months and cover a vastly expanded area. Not all types of caviar stand up to freezing, of course. Among those best suited to freezing are Flying Fish roe,Capelin roe, and Whitefish caviar. These are all small fish, which are blast frozen aboard ship immediately after being caught and are afterwards delivered to mainland factories for processing.
Flying Fish roe (Tobiko) and Capelin roe (Masago) are best known as ingredients in Japanese cuisine, where they are used as a filling or topping for sushi, sashimi, and nigiri. But the face of modern gastronomy is changing — the versatility of these ingredients is being explored to the fullest. The tiny, attractive roe produced by these fish is now popular in continental and fusion cuisine to add crunch, saltiness, and a hint of sea flavor to a variety of dishes, as well as for decoration. Like all fish roe,Tobiko and Masago contain beneficial vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 and -6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Flying Fish caviar, called "Tobiko" in Japanese, is the roe harvested from the Flying Fish, which lives in the tropics and subtropics. Its name comes from the unusually large fins that allow it to make tremendous leaps out of the water to escape its predators and other threats found in its environment: this is a fish that spends most of its life in the upper portions of the water, near the surface. The natural color of its roe is red-orange, but it is often dyed and flavored with natural ingredients: yuzu for bright yellow, squid ink for black, and wasabi for a bright green color and spicy flavor.
Capelin caviar is harvested in the ice cold North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, in the waters around Iceland. This roe is even smaller than Tobiko and is widely known in the market by its Japanese name,"Masago". Like Tobiko, it is used in traditional and modern Japanese cuisine. It is one of the sushi caviars, and it has also become a common ingredient in continental and fusion dishes. It can be distinguished from Tobiko by the smaller size of its grains, but it is otherwise very similar, in terms of both flavor and nutritional value. As Capelin is more readily available, Masago is often used as a cheaper substitute for Tobiko. As a sushi caviar, it is marketed in different colors, but its natural color is pale yellow. Wasabi is used to obtain a green color and spicy flavor, red chili peppers for a red color and a hot sea flavor, and squid ink for a black color.
Last but not least among the frozen caviars is Whitefish caviar. This member of the Salmon family is found in abundance in the Great Lakes. Unlike its relatives, this fish yields fairly small eggs that are golden in color. They are crisp and delicious, with a glossy appearance, and are often dyed with squid ink to create Black Whitefish caviar, also known as Black Caviar Supreme. It is prepared in the "Malossol" method used for true caviar — that is, it is preserved with only a small amount of sea salt, just right for accentuating its flavor while preserving its freshness.