Depending on when you catch steelhead, lake trout or other salmonids, your catch
may be a hen (female) holding a large amount (a pound or more) of spawn, either loose or in skein (still contained in its thin, sac-like membrane). Fresh spawn is prized among anglers as a great bait, but lesser known as a delicacy not unlike caviar.
While true caviar comes from sturgeon or paddlefish, cured trout roe is an increasingly expensive delicacy. Some stores now charge as much as $100 for a few ounces.
Curing your own roe is both fast and easy. This recipe requires only 3 ingredients, a scale and about 10 minutes of your time. If you don’t have curing salt, you can replace it with regular salt. You’ll be amazed by the results, too.
Trout roe is milder and has a much thinner skin than its salmon counterpart, which makes it a good starting point for the fish roe skeptic. The cured roe should be kept refrigerated for a couple weeks or more, depending on the amount of salt you use (feel free to tune it to match your taste). In theory you can even freeze it — something that retail stores do occasionally.
Cured trout roe - recipe
8 oz trout roe, still in the skein (membranous sac (see picture #2)
1/8 tsp table salt
2/3 tsp olive oil
Place the roe on a cooling rack over a bowl, and rub gently to separate the eggs from the membrane (see picture #4). Rinse the eggs with cold water and drain. Weigh the roe and return to a dry bowl.
Add 1/8 tsp table salt, then calculate 4.5% of the roe weight, and add that weight in curing salt. Sprinkle over the roe. Gently mix with a spatula, add the oil and mix again. Transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate for at least 1 day, stirring every 12 hours or so. Serve with water crackers or tie into small (dime-size) spawn bags and go fishing.