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Sevruga is a type of caviar made from the raw eggs of a fish called a sevruga sturgeon. The caviar is mainly produced in Russia and Iran, which both border the Caspian Sea where the sturgeon originates. It is considered to be the third most expensive type of sturgeon caviar in the world and also thought by many to have the strongest flavor. The eggs are often smaller than the rarer and more costly beluga and osetra caviars, and since the sevruga sturgeon reproduces at an earlier age than the osetra or beluga sturgeon, its eggs are also more plentiful.
Fresh fish eggs are extremely perishable, so all caviar must be prepared with salt. The more expensive kinds of caviar, however, often have the least amount of salt added, as they are often the freshest. Most expensive caviar labels will have the word malossol, which is Russian for "little salt," written on them. Sevruga caviar can keep in its unopened tin for up to a month, but when it's opened, it should be eaten right away. Refrigerated, it should only last a few days, and it is not meant to be frozen.
It is thought best to serve sevruga caviar very cold, usually in a glass bowl placed over ice. Its traditional accompaniments are pieces of thin, toasted bread or small Russian pancakes made from buckwheat flour called blini. Some also serve the caviar with lemon slices, chopped egg and sour cream, or creme fraiche, but others feel the more expensive the caviar, the less should be eaten with it so as to appreciate its distinctive taste. For celebrations, caviar is usually served with very cold vodka or champagne. It is not traditional to cook with sevruga, but it is sometimes used to top a finished dish, such as a cream soup, for a luxurious presentation.
Care should be taken when serving to spoon the caviar gently out of its container or bowl, so as not to break the eggs. The type of spoon used is also thought to be very important. Silver or stainless steel can cause a chemical reaction, which may make the sevruga taste metallic or bitter. Most caviar spoons, made just for that purpose, are made of mother-of-pearl or gold. Sevruga caviar is thought to be very high in cholesterol and salt, but a spoonful contains enough vitamin B12 to fulfill an adult's daily requirement.
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