It’s easy to be creative when serving caviar. Making your own butter and adding chopped herbs such as dill or scallions is an easy adaptation. Take it a step further and flavor the crème fraiche with finely zested lemon, finely chopped chives, or even a puree of roast shallot — or add a tiny dollop of red onion jam. Serve with freshly baked blini or Russian black bread, or try these fast and easy alternatives:
- Frozen waffle fries: Bake or fry, pipe lemon-zested chive cream cheese, and top with amber, gold or gray-colored caviar.
- Sweet potato waffle fries: Bake or fry, pipe saffron & tajine cream, top with salmon roe.
- La Rose Noir plain or mini sesame cones: Fill with a small roll of smoked salmon/cream fraiche/chive, top with a drop of crème fraiche, salmon roe, or gold caviar, and a dill pluche.
- English cucumber: Slice into thin wheels, pipe dill-blended cream, top with small flakes of gold, then black or gray caviar
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Go-To Blini Recipe
Blini are easy to make and very adaptable. You can play around with types of flour, color, and even texture. Traditional blini range in size depending on where they are from. French blini are tiny and bite-sized, while Russian blini are at least the size of the palm of your hand, and sometimes bigger.
5 grams (2 teaspoons) active yeast
300 milliliters (1⅓ cup) slightly warmed milk
8 grams (approx 2 teaspoons) sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature, separated
250 grams (1¾ cups) bread flour (or gluten-free bread flour mix, or traditional buckwheat flour*)
5 grams (2 teaspoons) fine kosher salt
60 grams (¼ cup) melted unsalted butter
15 milliliters (¾ cup) neutral oil, such as sunflower
NOTE: Color variations include adding a teaspoon of charcoal powder, matcha powder, butterfly pea flower powder, or infusing the milk with saffron, tajine, or even a vanilla bean!
* If you are using only buckwheat flour, add 28 grams (2 tablespoons) of sour cream to your batter.
Combine the warm milk, yeast, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, sift together the flour and salt in a large bowl.
Mix the flour, salt, egg yolks, and yeast mixture until a thin dough forms. Cover and let rise for about 2 hours until it doubles in size.
Whisk the egg whites until soft-peaks stage, then gently combine the egg whites and the flour batter. (I put the batter in a squeeze bottle with a medium size tip.)
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add a bit of unsalted butter or ghee, and add enough batter for the size you want.
Cook about 2 minutes per side for small blini and 3-4 minutes per side for large.
— Chef Patricia Clark
Click here for more information about caviar, or here to learn how to handle caviar.