I was perusing the seafood section at Uwajimaya the other day when I spied the sample table. I edged closer and saw that it was caviar. Caviar! Now that's the kind of sample table I can hang around! Barnaby handed me a cracker piled high with jet black goodness and I tasted. Delicious! But wait, it's not quite caviar. What is it? It definitely had the taste of the sea, but not as briny as I was expecting with caviar.
That's because it wasn't caviar.
At least not in the traditional sense. It was seaweed caviar! It's called Cavi-Art, and it's the brilliant result of molecular gastronomy, which basically means scientifically transforming an ingredient. In this case (and this is purely my guess as I'm not trained in molecular gastronomy), liquid seaweed that has been transformed into tiny pods - a.k.a. caviar. Cool!!
Whether you're vegan, want to try something new, or just don't want to drop the coin on caviar, this is the perfect alternative. It also has a long shelf-life, doesn't need to be refrigerated and can be used in hot and cold dishes. Best of all, it's healthy (low-fat, low-salt and cholesterol free) and environmentally sustainable, as it doesn't contribute to the depletion of fish stocks and only a small percent of the seaweed growth is harvested each year.
We purchased the black lumpfish Cavi-Art, but it also comes in red and yellow lumpfish as well as salmon Cavi-Art. Check out their website for some delicious sounding recipes. So far we've just been piling it on crackers with a bit of crème fraîche.