A few weeks ago I received a shipment of caviars and roes from California Caviar. This company specializes in sustainable caviar, works with the United States’ top caviar importers, farmers, and purveyors to provide the highest quality sustainable alternatives to luxury food items. They harvest their fish’s roe the time-honored traditional way. Most caviar producers should (if not already) follow this company’s mission as the populations of sturgeon fish are dwindling, which is one of the reasons why I chose to use their caviar for my luxurious dinner. In my overnight box contained: Farmed Royal White Sturgeon, Hackleback Sturgeon, Domestic Farmed Trout Roe, Domestic Farmed Salmon Roe, and Yuzu Tobiko Roe.
The most expensive domestic is the Royal White Sturgeon Osetra Caviar. These gray, brown-black colored eggs have a smooth and creamy texture with a little pop. It is salty and briny yet has a sweet aftertaste. The Hackleback caviar are small, black-to-dark brown beads that are a bit more subtle in flavor than the osetra caviar. Trout roe are medium sized grains with a deep orange-red color, exuding a crisp, briny tang. Salmon roe, which is relatively seen in Japanese sushi restaurants, are larger, firmer bead and juicy sweetness than the trout. The tobiko roe is basically very tiny eggs that give food a microbubble-like texture but with a bright, lemon-like flavor from the yuzu infused.
After sampling tiny (and I mean like two singular eggs) of each, I had a sense of what my dinner menu would be. The menu is the following:
Oysters Mignonette with Farmed Royal White Sturgeon Caviar
Deviled Eggs with Hackleback caviar
Toast with smoked salmon and Farmed Royal White Sturgeon Caviar
Buckwheat blini torte with trout roe
Caviar Eggs (using the Farmed Royal White Sturgeon Caviar)
Salmon sushi, two-ways: Maki rolls with Yuzu Tobiko Roe & Nigiri with Hackleback
Dessert: Homemade red adzuki bean lo mai chee (豆沙糯米糍)
Of my list of caviar-flecked foods, here is the recipe to my buckwheat blini with trout roe. The blini are fluffy, tender, yet earthy, nutty flavors of the buckwheat flour adds substance to the caviar. The trout roe’s juicy, briny flavors and “pop” texture when you bite into it makes it fun to eat and it’s great for entertaining.
Caviar and Salmon Blini Torte
Adaptation to Epicurious.com
Makes 2 servings
For egg salad
1 hard-boiled large egg, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
For the blini
2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg, separated
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb thinly sliced smoked salmon at room temperature
2 ounces trout caviar or salmon roe
Garnish: sour cream; chopped chives
Make egg salad:
Stir together all ingredients and a pinch of salt.
Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl. Add milk and yolk and whisk until smooth. Beat egg white with a clean whisk in another bowl until it just holds soft peaks. Fold into batter along with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
Brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with some of remaining olive oil, then heat over medium heat until hot. Working in batches of 6 or 7, drop 1 level tablespoon batter per pancake into skillet and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Flip over and cook 1 minute more. Brush blini on both sides with some of remaining melted butter, then transfer to a plate and keep warm, covered with foil. Brush skillet with butter between batches.
Drape smoked salmon on 6 blini and top with egg salad. Spoon caviar onto 6 more blini, then stack on egg-salad-topped blini.
For more photos of the caviar-centric dinner, please look through my slideshow below:
Mail order only