Among the American caviars, we emphasize the Paddlefish Caviar or Spoonbill Caviar harvested from the Paddlefish, a relative of the Sturgeon family native to North America. It is one of the largest species of North American river-dwelling fish, indigenous to the Mississippi River basin.
Despite the considerable size of an adult specimen, American Paddlefish Caviar grains are small in size and vary in color from silver-gray to nearly dark gray, with a soft shell that melts tenderly in your mouth, washing the palate with a perfect balance of salinity, earthiness, and richness. Paddlefish roe caviar is often considered a suitable "first-timer's" caviar because of its bold and earthy flavor, which is nonetheless delicate and buttery. Like all top-quality caviars, it can be enjoyed on toasts or blini with a dollop of crème fraîche or served over a hard-boiled egg.
This large fish, with its remarkable paddle-like snout used to locate zooplankton, usually produces a large quantity of Paddlefish roe. Due to its viability, the Paddlefish reproduces easily in aquafarms, leading to the extremely reasonable price of its roe. Do not be deceived by the low prices, though: the rich, intense flavor of Paddlefish caviar bears a strong resemblance to the far more expensive caviars harvested from Sevruga sturgeons. In all, Paddlefish caviar is an ideal low-cost alternative to the Caspian Sea caviars, perfect for large events and parties.
Here at Marky's Gourmet Store we carry Paddlefish caviar in a wide weight assortment also offer a great deal for a bargain price — a set consisting of:
The Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) is an American species closely related to the Sturgeon family, the main source of true caviar in the world market. Like the Sturgeons, it is a prehistoric species that has survived largely unchanged for much of the last 300 million years. They are 50 million years older than even the dinosaurs, and have survived their rise and fall.
This smooth-skinned freshwater fish is the only remaining representative of the Paddlefish family. It is also known as the Mississippi Paddlefish (after its main area of distribution), the Spoon-billed Cat, or the Spoonbill. As a relict species it has the distinctive characteristics of its prehistoric ancestors: an almost entirely cartilaginous skeleton, a long paddle-shaped snout that accounts for around one-third of its total body length, and a shark-like heterocercal dorsal fin.
Paddlefish is among the longest lived freshwater species in North America, living in some cases up to sixty years or more (as this species has no scales, its age is taken from dentary rings, as with the age of trees). Its average lifespan in the wild is about thirty years, at which age the usual size of an adult specimen is about 1.5 m and its weight nearly 30 kg. The Paddlefish is valued not only for the beautiful and delicious roe it produces, but also for its tender flesh, which is a delicacy both cooked and smoked.
The native habitat of the Paddlefish is the Mississippi River basin, but it is also widely found in the rivers and lakes of Tennessee and Kentucky.
After the ban on the import of Caspian Sea caviar, the emphasis on locally harvested roe increased dramatically, leading to Sturgeons and other caviar-supplying species previously abundant in American rivers and lakes becoming victims of poaching and overfishing. Changes to the fishes' habitat – such as dams that block spawning migration routes, industrial pollution, and changes in riverside structure – have also played a role in their declining populations.