The first version of “Roe Roe Roe” was a great success - but I had hoped to get in local halibut roe to pair with the paddlefish caviar. Unfortunately none of the halibut caught by our local fisherman had developed roe. This week I was lucky enough to get a pound of perfect roe sacks from a catch of local black cod. I have never used black cod roe, but I know that it is a common ingredient in the Mediterranean where it is often cured and preserved in olive oil. In Sweden the roe is smoked and used as a spread. There is a spicy-cured roe from Korea that is now commonly used in Japan with pasta. Fish roe in general can be found in kitchens around the world, but in America it is rarely given much attention. This is unfortunate because not only is roe full of flavor it is also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids.
My inspiration for this preparation is Tarama, a smoked cod roe found in Greece. I simply wash the fresh roe sacks, marinate them with garlic, meyer lemon and espelette overnight and then smoke them for a few hours. Smoking the roe hardens the outer skin and leaves the tiny eggs inside lightly scented with smoke. I use a small spoon to remove the roe from the skin and whip it into a smooth paste. The creaminess of the smoked black cod roe helps to balance the astringency of the paddlefish caviar, and it fits perfectly within my goal of featuring roes that are all indigenous or raised in California.