My Christmas Eve dinner almost sounds like a New Year’s Eve dinner, come to think about it. Since I’ve cranked out different dinners for different guests for the past two days, I planned to create a lighter yet still very luxurious dinner to kick off Christmas with Caviar Star‘s caviar and their sublime salmon fume.
Caviar Star (formerly known as Great Atlantic Trading) is a premium importer and supplier to America’s best distributors, hotels, gourmet stores, fine food web sites and cruise lines. They offer only the finest quality hand selected imported, domestic, and farm-raised caviars and specialty foods from around the world.
The five caviar I’ve ordered were an ounce each of Imperial Beluga, American White Sturgeon Caviar, Smoked Trout Caviar, American Paddlefish caviar, and Osetra Caviar. It’s one of the finest caviar I’ve had in a while. Each caviar were pristine, lightly salted, evenly sized and colored. The Osetra was a beautiful brownish-slightly yellow (depending on lighting) beads that were firm, wonderfully nutty and rich flavors. Their Imperial Beluga Kaluga caviar, whose fine beads of roe comes from the Beluga fish’s Caspian cousin, was delicate and buttery flavor with medium brown color. The paddlefish were fine steel gray beads with a rich aroma with a slightly pungent bite.
The salmon fume was one of the best smoked salmon I’ve eaten by far. It’s a cut of salmon from its tenderloin (according to Caviar Star) and it’s truly the most silkiest, buttery, smoked fish. Once you’ve eaten this smoked salmon, you’ll never want to eat any other smoked salmon.
I was excited to pair dishes with all of the caviar.
I created eight savory dishes and three desserts. Most of my dishes were traditional, as they are fail-safe such as cauliflower soup topped with American sturgeon caviar and buckwheat blini with crème fraîche, salmon fume, Imperial Beluga Kaluga caviar and dill. Two dishes were a little “out there” – roast Chateaubriand from Pat LaFrieda topped with sturgeon osetra caviar and the dessert of homemade bacon ice cream with pomegranate swirl topped with trout caviar.
I know the beefy, roast Chateaubriand (marinated in salt, pepper, fresh rosemary and a touch of olive oil) paired with the slightly nutty, briny Osetra caviar seems strange and admittedly, it is. Sort of. (That’s the reason everyone gets a quarter teaspoon worth of this precious roe. It’s an experiment and everyone who dined knew about it.) The bacon ice cream fared better. The smokiness of the trout worked well with the sweet-smoky bacon ice cream with an interesting “pop” when I bite down on the trout roe. The pomegranate swirl cuts the richness of the bacon fat in the ice cream.
The meal went very well. Lots of prosecco passed around (I paired with Mionetto Prosecco DOC Brut, as it’s light bodied to let the caviar shine). Good laughs and of course, the food, especially the luxurious caviar and succulent salmon fume, was enjoyed by loved ones.
Since I’m not going to give you an odd ball recipe (re: the Chateaubriand with Osetra caviar), here’s a traditional pairing: Buckwheat blini with salmon fume and caviar.
Buckwheat blini with salmon fume and caviar
Recipe from Epicurious.com
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Salmon fume, thinly sliced (or you may used any thinly sliced smoked salmon, about 4 ounces)
Caviar (I used Caviar Star’s Imperial Beluga Kaluga)
Fresh dill sprigs
1. Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl.
2. Place milk and butter in small saucepan. Stir over low heat until butter melts and thermometer registers 110°F (if mixture gets too warm, cool until temperature returns to 110°F). Pour warm milk mixture into flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Whisk buckwheat batter to deflate; then whisk in eggs. Do ahead Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Transfer to large bowl. Cover; chill (may increase in volume; rewhisk before using).
3. Preheat oven to 200°F. Heat griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with melted butter. Working in batches, pour 2 tablespoons batter for each blini onto griddle, spacing apart. Cook until bubbles form on top and begin to pop, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn blinis; cook until golden brown on bottom, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet. Tent with foil and place in oven to keep warm while cooking remaining blinis. Do ahead Blinis can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and chill. Brush blinis lightly with melted butter and rewarm on baking sheet in 350°F oven 5 minutes.
4. Arrange warm blinis on platter. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon crème fraîche atop each. Top with smoked salmon. Garnish with salmon roe and dill sprigs and serve.
For more photos of this meal, please scroll through the slideshow below or my Flickr photoset: