TREAT YOURSELF TO DANISH CAVIAR – STENBIDERROGN
Danish caviar, Stenbiderrogn, is a real treat and a small luxury Danes enjoy in the early spring. March is usually the high season, so now is the time to try it out.
By Henrik Stender
During the early spring you can find many menus using stenbiderrogn in the Danish up-market restaurants. However, why not enjoy the delicate, salty and fresh taste of the Danish caviar at home?
The caviar comes from the eggs of the roe of the lump-fish (in Danish stenbider). The big, bulky and rather ugly fish comes to the Danish waters every spring to lay its eggs.
During the main season, you should be able to get freshly caught stenbiderrogn for prices as low as DKK 50 per 100 grams making it an affordable small luxury.
At the moment stenbiderrogn is sold from the fishmonger on offer at DKK 175 for 200 grams, (around DKK 87 per 100 grams) – enough for four people as a small appetiser. But still to expensive to have as a full meal, or really indulge yourself with lots of it.
My local fishmonger is still waiting for the price to come further down, which, if the fishermen catch enough, it certainly will.
“The stenbider does not like the wind – they then seek away from the low lying waters in the fjords and go out deeper into the sea, making them more difficult to catch,” he says. “They come into the Danish fjords at this time of the year to lay their eggs, here they are an easy catch.”
“I still expect the price to come down. This time of the year – consumers just have to keep a close watch at their local fishmonger. Danes love their local caviar, and as soon as the offer is good enough, you have to be quick, as the stenbiderrogn gets sold out really quickly,” is his best tip.
There are a number of recipes, but here I give you my favourite, the old-fashioned version. Depending on your purse, you can calculate from 50 grams per person.
When the price is at its lowest, I always calculate more, as the indulge recipe below reflects!
If you do not have time to make blinis, you can also opt for toast instead. Use all the same ingredients and just replace the blinis with toast. Ask your fishmonger if you should add salt, I sometimes do before serving as it enhances the taste.
Old-fashioned stenbiderrogn with blinis
BUY 700 g cleaned Stenbiderrogn ( Okay this is the indulge recipe!)
600 ml milk
100 ml crème fraiche
30 g fresh yeast (look for Gær in Danish supermarkets)
1 teaspoon honey
180 g all purpose (plain) flour
180 g buckwheat flour
3 egg whites
3 egg yolks
A pinch of salt
Butter and oil for frying
TIP: You can add spinach to the blinis if you want a more “green” feel to them.
4 large spring onions (many people use red onions, but I prefer the spring ones due to their delicate taste)
Dill or chives
Cremefraiche 38 %
Taste the cleansed stenbiderogn, if it is not salty enough, rinse it in cold water, drain the water off, add salt to taste and put it in the refrigerator for two hours before using it (you can cheat and just add salt if you are pressed for time).
Making the blinis is simple ( they are really like small pancakes):
Warm the milk, until 27°C (finger warm), mix in the yeast, add the creme fraiche, honey, egg yolk and the two flours and mix until the dough is firm and smooth. It is easiest to make the dough in a kitchen machine with a dough hook.
Let the dough rise until it has doubled its size, 45-60 mins. While the dough is rising, whip the egg whites and then fold them gently into the risen dough with a wooden spoon.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and melt butter and oil in the pan. Portion spoons of dough into a hot frying pan and fry them on both sides, until golden brown.
Coarsely chop the spring onions and finely chop the dill and chives.
Serve the blinis with Stenbiderrogn, topped with crème fraiche, spring onions and dill or chives.