Eating More Nutrient-Dense Foods (Yes, I Really Tried Fish Eggs)
It’s difficult to read Weston A. Price’s book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, without having a sudden urge to bolt to the store for some fish eggs and liver.
No, really. It is. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.
After spending more than a week devouring this fascinating book full of Dr. Price’s nutritional research and investigations into exactly what it was that made native, isolated populations eating traditional foods so very healthy, I was inspired. These traditional people valued fish eggs (among many other foods, like organ meats, shellfish, milk and cream from pastured cows, etc.) because they are rich in fat-soluble vitamins A and D, as well as many other nutrients especially minerals. I decided that if they valued them so highly, perhaps I should at least give them a shot!
I tried looking for them in the seafood section of my regular grocery store, but when I asked the staff there they just said “nooooo…”, gave me a look that said “did you know that you’re really strange?” and I realized I’d need to go outside of my regular stomping grounds. I asked a friend and she suggested trying an Asian market- of course! Why didn’t I think of that?
Abbie and I went out on a little shopping “date” to our favorite, nearby Korean grocery store. I’ve gone there before to buy seaweed paper and coconut sugar. I had never thought of going there for seafood, but now I intend to go back once a month for that very purpose! Not only did I find my precious fish eggs, but I also found several other types of fish at excellent prices.
You can see up above the fish eggs, or roe, that I chose. There were 3 varieties, and I really had no idea what was what. I chose these Flying Fish Roe because the sweet man behind the fish counter said they were good. Sure, I figured. Why not? Fish eggs are fish eggs, aren’t they? I’m sure they all taste, umm… fishy (which is just fine with me).
A little unsure, I brought my treasure home (which I couldn’t believe how cheaply I had gotten, by the way) and sat there looking at it for a little while. Exactly what does one do with fish eggs?
Here’s my attempt at gourmet. Ryvita crackers, with homemade raw cream cheese, and little fish eggies sprinkled on top. Pretty, isn’t it?
And the verdict? Edible, but maybe we need to keep looking for a better way to get these little babies down. The slightly sour cream cheese didn’t mesh well with the odd sweetness of the eggs. I’m in definite need of ideas and inspiration!
(On a side note, my husband just came into the office, laughed at my post title, and informed me that I have, in fact, eaten fish eggs before. In Japan. Certain kinds of maki or rolled sushi have roe added to them. Guess I forgot, or at least they weren’t that memorable. So perhaps making sushi rolls and adding fish eggs is in my near future?)
My husband and I majorly LOVE sushi rolls with roe…some DELISH salmon and other fish combined with the roe should make for some healthy stuff for you guys! (Maybe you’ll have to splurge for a birthday/anniversary on a night out of sushi for some inspiration??? 🙂 )
.-= Nancy H.´s last blog ..Merry Christmas 2009! =-.
I have no idea about the fish eggs, but I did email a friend in hopes of finding you an answer! I have been looking for more nutrient dense foods lately, too. But I’ve been sticking to blueberries, kefir, greens – stuff like that.
.-= Marci@OvercomingBusy´s last blog ..Organizing Your Taxes =-.
LOL….ummm I don’t think I could do it. I’ll stick to other nutrient dense foods instead. 🙂 Something about thinking about the colour and the fishy taste combined does not do good things to me. 🙂 But go for it! Glad you can do it.
I’ve started trying to take apple cider vinegar every day, as I’ve heard good things about that. I am saving up to get an actual sprouter for growing sprouts rather than just canning jars (any suggestions?) because I want to grow large quantities of them at once easily. Maybe not as interesting as fish eggs but still good. I would bet I would not even be able to find fish eggs around here. There is no such things as Asian food places here with no population of those groups here (unfortunately).
We’ve been wanting to buy seafood from our local Asian market, but how do you purchase “safe” fish and fish eggs when you can’t read the signs or labels and the sales people don’t speak English?
Any suggestions of what to look for or varieties that are typically safer than others.
By the way, I think the sushi rolls are definitely a good idea.
@Allyson, I am blessed that in our Asian markets, most of the people working there also speak English. Not everyone does, so I sometimes have to try asking a few different people but I can usually find someone helpful.
I just came across your blog (from orgjunkie.com) and it’s great! I’ll put it in my regular blog rotation. I just wanted to say that I couldn’t agree more with your nutritional philosophy. I’ve been into nutrition for years, and it’s been a learning experience the whole way. I used to think meat and fat were bad, until I was trying to get pregnant with baby #2 and read a newsweek article about a harvard study about diet and fertility. You probably read it (here’s a summary: http://www.healthcastle.com/fertility_diet.shtml). Basically, women on healthier diets were more likely to concieve, but the most suprising thing was that women who ate/drank FULL FAT dairy products were more likely to concieve. So I started researching fat and protein and nutrient dense foods, and switched us to whole milk (and got pregnant the next month). Now I really feel better and it’s much easier for me to not gain weight! And my baby loves nutrient dense foods, and really isn’t a big carb fan! I try to share my advice with people, that fat is not a bad thing! Anyway, keep up the good work, and I look forward to reading more!
@Lisa, So glad you’re here, Lisa! I also used to think meat and fat were bad, but I find it much easier to maintain a healthy weight with a more protein/fat heavy diet than when I had a diet filled with more carbs (even whole grain carbs). Not only is the weight thing easier, but it has actually improved my reproductive and digestive health enormously! Yay for real food!
I had them years ago when my ex and I bought some for a Christmas eve celebration.
Since then I’ve only eaten them in sushi (and love them that way)!
Is liver and fish eggs considered legal in regard to the biblical laws?
@Rebekah, I don’t think so, and I actually pay attention to that sort of thing. We’re not supposed to eat the blood of animals, but I don’t think there are restrictions on eating the organs of clean animals. Fish eggs should be fine as they are found within a clean seafood, that being fish with scales. We also don’t eat seafood in our home (clams, shrimp, etc.) because it isn’t clean. I’d be interested to hear if anybody has any other thoughts or verses that would indicate that these foods aren’t considered “clean”.
@Rebekah, Oops, just realized that I said “I don’t think so” because I thought you were asking if they were illegal. So let’s change that- yes, I do think they’re legal!
@Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home,
I think so too, I looked it up under kosher after reading Real Food for Mother and Baby and they said it was okay as long as it was a clean fish.
Yes, both liver and fish eggs can be kosher.
Of course, liver must be from a kosher animal, and the liver cannot be diseased, and then it must be broiled in a certain way to “remove” the blood.
Fish eggs are just fine, as long as they are from a kosher fish.
My grandfather used to fold fish roe into scrambled eggs…it’s worth a try, I guess.
@Margaret in VA, Oh, neat idea!
When we had our wine store, a customer used to give us caviar at Christmas. I didn’t enjoy it but my husband and son (who was then ages 4 and 5) loved it on a cracker with butter.
@Carol, That’s what I was thinking when I tried crackers. It’s basically caviar (or similar), which I’ve often heard of or seen served on crackers or with bread.
I received Nourishing Traditions for Christmas and have a strong need to sloudly second this, “It’s difficult to read Weston A. Price’s book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, without having a sudden urge to bolt to the store for some fish eggs and liver.
No, really. It is. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.”
I haven’t tried it yet (mostly due to the fact that I live in a small town that has an extremely pathetic organic selection and basically no minorities.
I’ve read Nourishing Traditions, but haven’t been able to summon up the courage to eat fish eggs. You’re a brave woman! Right now, I’m sticking with my free range chicken eggs (I love that they’re brown!), raw yogurt, and raw milk on a daily basis.
I’ve tried liver, and it’s not too bad. It’s super easy to hide in meals if you shred it and add it to ground beef, but my midwife recommended keeping it at a minimum for the time being.
yeah, eating it with rice would make much more sense than on crackers or with cream cheese.
you could put them on top of sushi, which would be amazing. or just sprinkle over rice. you could even get some seaweed, cut it up, and sprinkle that into your bowl of rice. with maybe an overeasy egg on top. delicious.
@carol, Yes, it probably would be better with rice. And my daughter and I really love sprinkling seaweed on rice, too.
I love flying fish roe, and have been eating it since I was a little girl. The best way to way to eat it, as Carol says, is on rice. Particularly sushi rice. Just make short-grain rice and add a little rice vinegar and sugar mixed together (just a tad), wait until the rice cools (unless you like cooked roe), and then add the roe on top! I like this simple dish with vegetables like boiled leeks or even just raw cucumber.
AnnMarie at Cheeseslave did a post recently about Rice Bowls and I know she had fish roe as part of it – give that a try. Like Allyson, I’m not sure I would trust the source (especially here in the deep south so far away from a decent source). Any advice would be appreciated!
@elaine, Thanks for that, Elaine. I missed that recipe at Cheeseslave but it sounds good.
@Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home,
Also, AnnMarie is helping to educate me that it takes more than once or twice to try something new. I think her rule is a minimum of 6 – 10 times before she even thinks about making a decision on whether or not she likes it. That has really helped me in trying things that are very new to me (organ meats, for example). I am eating eggs for the first time in my life because i just kept trying them every so often. They still aren’t my favorite but I actually like them – which is a miracle because when I was younger they would literally gag me 🙂
@elaine, I think that’s an excellent rule… to keep exposing yourself to a new food before you make a judgment on it!
Sushi is a great way to eat fish eggs. One of my all-time favourites is “sushi pizza” – basically you make a rice patty (hamburger-sized) using cooked rice with a bit of vinegar mixed in, fry it until it’s golden and crispy, top it with your favourite sushi toppings (salmon, smoked or fresh, cooked crab, cooked shrimp, avocado, cucumber), squeeze on a little mayo, then sprinkle generously with the fish eggs. I like to have all the toppings prepared ahead of time, so that I can eat the pizza while the “crust” is still warm.
I live in Vancouver as well (although I’m right in the heart of the city, I think you might live a little further out). Just last week I got some recommendations on where to find great seafood and and fish eggs at good prices: Kay’s Seafood (338 Powell), Fujiya’s (912 Clark) and Seafood City (Granville Island). If you’re ever making the trip into the city then you might want to check these places out.
@Ashley, I love your idea for sushi pizza! My family would totally go for that! I’ve also had a really delicious “california roll salad”, created by my cousin. It added crab, cucumber, avocado, sesame seeds, etc. to a big leafy salad, drizzled with a dressing that included soy and wasabi. So good! It would be a nice place to add fish eggs, too, I think.
it is a very interesting ready and you will never look at food the same 🙂
You are a brave woman!!
Hm… I’ve had fish eggs a few times. I lived in Alaska, actually, and we had native friends. I know at one point I just decided to eat the spoonful of them instead of letting them “spoil” my other food!
But it does seem like we would sometimes make fish wraps with cooked fish and then just sprinkle them over top…
I can’t stand fish eggs. They pop in your mouth and it’s somewhat shocking. Isn’t there a better way?
I definitely second the fact that after reading N&PD, you want to go eat all sorts of organ meats and roe. I never have eaten roe yet, but if you find a recipe you like, I’m all ears!
When we do liver, we usually mix it in with our meatloaf and it takes a lot of the strong flavor away. It’s also fairly tasty to make burgers out of a mix of ground beef and heart. We’re heavy on the cod liver oil in our house as well.
Good luck with the pretty eggs! 🙂
@Allison Baker, I just did liver in meatloaf last week, too. It made it slightly drier, but it’s do-able. I’ll just have to play around with the recipe a little more. We also do lots of cod liver oil!
I’ve had them on sushi but haven’t been brave enough to try them like that!
To be honest, I’m scared of liver. I once read that it is the detoxifying organ of the body, so why would one want to eat it? and that’s changed my mind since. :/
@Mrs. Money, It’s true that liver is a detoxifying organ. This makes it especially important to ONLY eat liver from a very good source of grass-fed, pastured, healthy animals. I will never eat liver from a regular grocery store or animals that I am unsure of. I used to be concerned about the possible toxicity as well, but the reading I have done has convinced me that the health benefits and the nutrients in liver outweigh the cost of some toxins (which of course is lessened when the animal is healthy and pastured). I still wouldn’t eat it every day, but consider it a ‘sometimes’ food for all those nutrients!
I make a caviar dip for parties that would be delicious with your crackers. The first time I brought it, alone and untouched it sat for a while until someone tried it, told her friend and the word spread – it was gone within minutes. This makes a HUGE serving (which I will admit to eating for days) but you can definitely scale it way back. I think the tastes come from classic toast points, but somehow I prefer the dip to composed toast points.
Layered Caviar Dip (made with any kind of fish eggs – we do roe like you pictured for the holidays)
Creme Freiche or Sour Cream + Mayonnaise
Green Onions or Chives
Hardboil, peel and finally chop the eggs. Mix in about 1 stick of butter (can be done with coconut oil as well, hard to tell with all the other flavors)
Press into 2 9×12 pans
Layer with a bunch of minced green onions or chives
Spread a layer of creme frieche or the mixture of sour cream and mayo
Layer fish eggs atop it all
@Meredith, Ok, that really does sound good. I’ll have to try it!
This might sound like a silly question, but can you just eat the eggs out of a fish when you catch one? Hubby says that he catches quite a few with eggs in them. Do you know if I’d need to salt them to preserve them?
Looking forward to fishing season… 🙂
It doesn’t matter how many times I read that organ meats, bone broths, etc. are good for me. I won’t be eating them. I haven’t eaten meat in about 20 years and cannot stomach the thought. Sometimes I wish I could; seems my life could be simpler in some ways. But I’ll have to do without 🙂
I have tried fish eggs! I lived in Moscow for two years and this is one of the many things that are a regular part of their diet that I didn’t know at the time but now realize are incredibly healthy! They also eat lots of fish, and congealed fish broth that’s looks like something straight out of Nourishing Traditions, lots of kefir, kvass, etc, etc, etc. I wish I knew then what I know now–I would have eaten a lot more of the stuff!
When I was a young girl my dad did alot of ice fishing. He would catch perch and the fish would have sacks of eggs in them. My mom would mix them up with a couple of chicken eggs and scramble them. Yum, yum! I liked the eggs as much as I did the fish! We didn’t ever eat them raw though.
I am a korean adoptee married to a Korean American. The korean cooking I have learned actually takes advantage of many animal organs, fish roe (although not this kind) and bone broth soups, and fermented bean pastes. Interesting that it seems from your commenters that this seems to be similar to Dr. Price’s diet philosophy. I’d love to share with you some of these Korean recipes if you’d like. (Everyone makes their dish a bit different according to family tradition it seems. And I have only found one “more authentic” Korean cookbook in English. I don’t speak Korean.)
I guess I am lucky that I love the creamy taste of liver, (although some kinds need to be prepared carefully) and fish roe since they seem to be healthy choices.
I’ve only had this type of roe on sushi rolls of all kinds. I buy sushi grade fish meat from the Korean market. It is expensive, but I trust it more. If you have a local fish monger anywhere, they would be an even better source and could tell you if the fish is wild caught, or farmed, or what. The workers at my Korean super market only speak spanish and don’t know where anything comes from. You can buy seaweed unseasoned in sheets for making rolls, add the other veggies others have suggested, imitation crab, or cooked fish. Or as Koreans, we make rice bowls that have a bunch of things on it, such as raw fish, fish roe, seaweed seasoned with sesame oil and sea salt, lettuce, bell pepper, and korean green pepper (careful some are spicy.)
anyway, I am rambling, and saying what others just wrote. I wish you luck in this new culinary corner! And my friend Marci at Overcoming Busy.com sent me an e-mail about your post! Best, Abbie
@abbie, Of course, we’d love to know some of your Korean recipes! I think Korean food is wonderful, and I’m always looking for ways to add nourishing foods to our diet!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE sushi, and the rolls with the fish eggs are fantastic! That’s the only way I’d ever eaten them though 🙂 I’m about to move to the middle of nowhere in Alberta, and am really going to miss my sushi 🙁
We like eating fish eggs, or caviar, usually we spread butter on a piece of toast and sprinkle with fish eggs, while we to tea time. But it does take time to get used to it, and knowing that its good for you makes all the difference.
This might sound crazy… but I grew up in Florida and we use to catch our own fish from the Gulf of Mexico and whenever there was roe in a fish, my dad would leave it intact in the sac and deep fry it.
It COMPLETELY changes the texture when it’s cooked and has a wonderful flavor – however, I have no idea what kind of fish it was from! I also realize it definitely changes the nutrient values (as I’m sure the whole point of this trial is to eat them raw because of the nutrient value), but it could be something to look into. It might be interesting to research how pan frying them in coconut (or some other healthy) oil would change their nutritional value.
I found this info. wikipedia about different preparations and types of roe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe
We live in the Pacific Northwest and although we are not Native Americans we were invited to an authentic meal in the tribal longhouse when my son was about nine months old. We filled our plates with elk and salmon eggs and other such traditional foods although at that time I didn’t appreciate them as I would have now. I was somewhat shocked when my baby started grabbing the salmon eggs and stuffing them into his mouth! So, what is my favorite use for fish eggs? I would definitely say… finger food for babies. I think that Nina Planck talks about that in her book as well. I think that instead of trying to find an Asian market, I just need to re-visit my native friends. When the rivers are full of spawning salmon, they are out, stripping eggs and tossing the salmon carcasses away.
This is a link to an article about caviar. I was looking for a soup similar to one that we were served at a New Year’s Eve dinner a couple years ago. The soup was thick and served with the caviar just spooned into the middle of the bowl. It was my first try of caviar and I really loved it!
Anyway, the link seems to have some other interesting ways to try caviar, even if they only serve to inspire you.
Hi there! I am an American living in Japan. I’ll see if I can round up some recipes for you. I know many friends here who eat fish eggs. Maybe I can find some tastey ones for you?!
The only time I have roe is when it comes on seaweed salad that I get whenever we go to a Japanese resturaunt. And I don’t even notice it is on there since the salad is so yummy! Perhaps you could start making seaweed salad and add the roe to that?
We’ve splurged on caviar from Whole Foods twice before (for anniversaries, etc) and we love eating it just plain on cucumber rounds, or sprinkled on top of deviled eggs! We’ve had the yellow and red caviar (can’t remember what kinds of fish they come from) and they are super-salty, but tasty!
My husband and I LOVE roe!!! Maybe not all kinds, and we’re both a little afraid of “caviar”, though we aren’t sure that is a founded fear.
We love sushi, and we always try to get at least one roll with roe on piled on top when we go. The only ones we’ve had are the same color as yours… yum! I just love the way they pop between your teeth.
We’ve never tried them at home or apart from sushi, but perhaps we should. I didn’t know they were healthy!
One thing’s for sure–your blog just keeps getting weirder and weirder.. I mean that in a good way. I hope I don’t get stuck in a rut. My dad used to buy those red eggs for making bait for the big fish. I never thought about eating them. I can picture them being rolled up in scraps of my mom’s nylons.. for the big fishing trip. And how is your husband doing?
.-= Jena´s last blog ..You’re a weak skinny one.. =-.
@Jena, Hee, hee. I don’t mind being told that my blog is getting weirder. 🙂 It’s true in real life, so I suppose it should be true in the blogosphere, too, right? I do love trying new things, weird or not!
Yes, I have tried salmon eggs before! When I was just out of high school, I worked a couple summers in a salmon cannery in Bristol Bay, Alaska. I worked in what was called the Egg House, where we packaged all the salmon roe to send to buyers in Japan. I thought the eggs tasted like mushy salt, not really that bad but the texture is kind of weird 🙂
Hi, Just had to respond to this. I’m from coastal NC and have been eating fish eggs, roe, all of my life. They are wonderful scrambled with eggs, use a bit of bacon grease, butter, or oil and scramble the fish roe and eggs together–add a pinch of salt and pepper. Herring roe, canned, is what I have eaten, and it is quite expensive, almost $5.00 for a small can of maybe, 10 oz. They are difficult to find out season (spring) Hope you’all like this!! Glenda
I was going to say eat the roe on sushi! my husband LOVES it, he thinks it adds some sweetness to it. I’ve never had the guts to try it, but unfortunately I’m too picky to eat sushi, except when I know it’s fresh caught fish.
Not sure how you prefer your rolls but we like the rice on the outside, that said, a lot of times they put the roe on top of the rice. 🙂
Back in my native Ukraine, caviar is considered luxury delicacy. It is expansive and difficult to find (well, nowadays probably not, but back when I lived there). I’ve tried both red and black caviar, but I could never understand what was so special about it. Actually, the black one does taste better then the red one, but still it isn’t that great. In Ukraine/Russia it’s usually eaten on a cracker with butter.
.-= Olga´s last blog ..After the Storm =-.
We use fish eggs for bait — works pretty well!
.-= Trixie´s last blog ..Eat From The Pantry Challenge: Week 4 =-.
The problem with flying fish roe (tabiko) is that while it’s about the most delicious thing ever in my opinion, I’ve yet to find it undyed and unflavored! 🙁 Apparently, salmon roe is naturally bright orange, but tabiko or flying fish roe is not.
If I could find natural flying fish roe for an affordable price, I would stock my freezer (roe freezes well apperntly) and eat it on rice and sushi and plain with tamari, and just devour it. But I’m not sure it’s worth it health wise since it’s dyed AND FLAVORED with MSG 🙁 🙁 *cries*
I bought some salmon roe, since it was undyed the guy at our local asian fish market said, and ewwwww. it’s so fishy!! any ideas for disguising the taste? I don’t want to ruin a perfect and expensive pastured chicken egg by making a fish egg scramble and having it taste too fishy.
My husband and I love to fish. Since I don’t like to waste anything, we decided to start eating the eggs as well. My favorite recipe so far is to scramble 2 chicken eggs (from my own chickens), one egg sack from the fish, and a little milk. I dice a little onion and garlic and cook it just for a minute with some rosemary and pepper then add my egg mixture. My son likes to add a little ketchup. It is delicious!
When I was in Japan for study abroad, these were how I saw it done in restaurants and konbini.
Mix the tobiko (flying fish roe) into sushi rice, then shape into onigiri and roll in surigoma (ground sesame seeds) or wrap in nori. Use it to garnish tuna salad.
Ikura (salmon roe) can go in onigiri, or make “sake oyakodon”.
Both work great in temakizushi.
One traditional recipe is roe cakes. Might be worth a try?
(google translated recipe. Some funny words, but it should be understandable)
My best friend is Russian and every year during New Years, the most important holiday, it is a tradition to have red or black caviar piled on slices of liberally-buttered french bread, with a little bit of lemon juice squeezed on top. And it is so. good. I love going to her house for New Year’s Eve and eating the caviar, because it’s something that’s worth waiting all year for.
I like tobiko on sushi rolls and in seaweed salad
I’m from a coastal region in India. Cuisines vary drastically across India, but where I come from, traditionally, fish eggs are mixed with lots of freshly grated coconut, curry leaves, turmeric powder, salt and green chillies, and cooked pressed between leaves, or scrambled. But mostly I get just a spoon or two of fish eggs (from inside the fish I buy), so I find it easier and tastier to sprinkle some salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder over the fish eggs, and gently pan fry in a little bit of coconut oil. Yum.