The Taste Difference Between Crawfish Roe And Caviar

Crawfish are small, lobster-like, saltwater crustaceans found in prolific numbers throughout the southeastern United States. Traditionally served as part of a boil, their meat is known to be sweet and succulent. However, there is more to these little critters beneath the shell. Located on the underside of female crawfish, the roe, or eggs, are also edible and can be various colors such as red, orange, or brown. To the untrained eye, they are almost indistinguishable from caviar. 

Though they are roe, the unfertilized eggs can only be sourced from sturgeon to be labeled true caviar. At one time, caviar was strictly the product of the Black and Caspian Seas, where wild sturgeon swam in massive numbers. Today, a combination of wild and farmed sturgeon make up the caviar market, which is something of an upscale delicacy. Sturgeon take a long time to mature and produce eggs. Thanks also to the significant labor involved in harvesting the roe, a single ounce of quality Beluga caviar can cost upward of $350. It also comes in five different varieties and can range from gray to black to golden brown.

As far as flavors are concerned, the difference between caviar and crawfish roe is very pronounced. If you've ever eaten traditional caviar, you'll know that the taste is memorable and unmistakable. That being said, crawfish roe can be just as flavorful, albeit in a far subtler way. 

Crawfish roe is a milder caviar

The five different categories of caviar are as follows: Beluga, Kaluga, Osetra, Sevruga, and American. Each vary in size, texture, and flavor depending on whether they were farmed or wild caught. However, owing to the fact that they all derive from sturgeon, they share similar characteristics which makes it easier to describe this food group as a whole. 

Caviar has a robust flavor when it hits the tongue. Beginning with a briny pop, the taste develops as you chew it. There are varying degrees of umami flavor to be found in the caviar categories, but most tend to have a taste akin to the freshness of an oyster. Caviar is always served as it is, with very little in the way of meddling flavors. They are commonly served as an appetizer to be spread across bread or unsalted crackers. 

Crawfish roe, on the other hand, has a more delicate flavor. The brine is far less present, but there is still a fresh, oceanic taste, mixed with a hint of savory, nutty flavor. Since it is so mild, roe can be used across a wide variety of different dishes. You can eat them raw, of course, but you can also cook the roe and blend them into sauces, stocks, or soups. Once the roe is bright red and has more of a pasty texture, it's fully cooked.