Ossetra (also Oscietra, Osetra, or Asetra) caviar, one of the most prized and expensive types of caviar available today (eclipsed in price only by Beluga caviar), comes from the Ossetra sturgeon (Acipenser persicus or Acipenser gueldenstaedtii), weighing 50-400 pounds and living up to 50 years. Ossetra caviar ranges from warm brown to green-gray in color, to dark blue to jet black or even yellow. Ossetra caviar is said to have a distinct flavour and so is prized as an elite caviar. Many caviar gourmands prefer the firm bead, texture, and nutty, rich flavor of Ossetra over all others, even Beluga.
Ossetra, also known as "ossetra caviar" or "asetra caviar" is the Russian term for sturgeon. At one time the term "ossetra" simply referred to Russian sturgeon species harvested for this type of caviar.
Ossetra sturgeon is much smaller than its coveted relative, the Beluga sturgeon (Huso huso). As caviar, it is of firmer texture than the more delicate Beluga caviar. Golden Ossetra is a rare form of Ossetra caviar, and is golden-yellow in color. It has a very rich flavor.
Today the Caspian Ossetra is facing extinction. Farming the sturgeon is the only way to continue the production of high quality caviar. Israel is currently a leader in the production of Russian Ossetra Caviar Acipenser gueldenstaedtii. Branded as "Karat Caviar" recent exports are now available in the United States in order to meet the demand of caviar since there has been no 2009 issue for wild Caspian Caviar production.
As with other caviars, ossetra is traditionally served on blinis with crème fraiche. The lower-graded varieties of caviar are used as stuffings in many seafood dishes and for some meat dishes. Caviar can and is often found in salads as well.
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