The world’s best caviars taste great without much dressing up, and some of us even enjoy this delicacy without any accompaniment.
Traditionally, caviar is simply served in a glass bowl on ice, with mother-of-pearl spoons and perhaps a squeeze of lemon to add some acidity.
However, we sometimes want to push our caviar to the max, which means using it as part of something bigger and better. Juicy proteins, savory starches, and even sweets are all in play.
Today we’re exploring a few of the more indulgent caviar recipes in the book, and hopefully, you will come away with some inspiration for your next dinner party.
Appetizing Hors D'oeuvres
A perennial favorite in French kitchens is boiled eggs with caviar, whether chopped up finely or sliced in half to hold a generous scoop of the salty sea pearls.
Eggs are naturally soft and supple, and the smooth textures of the whites and yolks offer an excellent support system for the firm fish roe.
We also love “new” waxy potatoes like fingerlings to lay down a starchy base for fine caviar. Slice potatoes thin and roast them at high heat to make an ideal canvas.
If you want to stick to the basics, you can’t go wrong with some simple blinis or buttered toast points. The fluffier and fresher the better, and don’t skip the creme fraiche or sour cream.
Tiny toasts are not only cute, but they absorb the flavors of the sturgeon roe perfectly and ensure that everyone receives the appropriate amount.
Also, be sure to chop up plenty of onions when presenting caviar in any form. The slightly sweet and spicy crunch plays well with the salty sensations of the caviar and keeps the palate fresh.
Starters and Side Dishes
Sometimes you want to dig into a caviar-laden plate with a fork and knife, rather than just picking up bite-sized snacks with your fingertips.
If crackers and blinis aren’t cutting it, you can increase the complexity and use caviar to make some true masterpiece side dishes.
Steak tartare, carpaccio, and other raw red meats are a classic match for caviar and are something to consider if you really want to indulge in something special.
The buttery texture and gamey flavor of the raw beef can complement caviar’s salinity and nuttiness, and you don’t need a lot of either ingredient to get the point across.
You can layer a thin strip of carpaccio or just a few tartare chunks onto a piece of bread and use the tiniest bit of caviar to accomplish this amazing flavor combo. Remember, less is more when it comes to these big, bold flavors, and you don’t need to overdo it.
If red meat and caviar seem over the top, you can use creamy vegetables like avocado and eggplant to lay down a luxurious base for your caviar creations.
The world’s great chefs also use purees of cauliflower, carrots, and peas to support delicate scoops of caviar, creating elegant soups that deliver a full range of flavor with each spoonful.
The beauty of caviar is its versatility, so don’t hesitate to test out new flavor combinations and put together plates that leverage the natural wonders of the world, whether they be proteins, veggies, or fruits. The only limit is your imagination, so start experimenting!
Enter the Entrées
When it’s time for the main course, caviar can play a key role as well, providing a powerful contrast of temperature, texture, and flavor to some classic dinner dishes.
This is where the luxury ramps up, as we see chefs add caviar to expensive cuts of beef and delicate seafood creations like crab and scallop salads.
The idea here is not to overpower the protein or distract from the main flavors of the dish itself. Instead, the caviar is considered a garnish meant to add a more complex sea salt touch.
If you are serving pasta, especially in a creamy alfredo sauce or an egg-based parmesan cacio e pepe, a small dollop of caviar on top can be a masterful addition that wows the crowd.
Carbonara is a classic dish that is very suitable for a scoop of caviar since the egg and cheese combo creates a light and silky texture that works well with the cold “pop” of the fish eggs.
In general, you want to avoid adding caviar to pasta with heavier red sauces or big spices. This is not to say it can’t be done, but those bold flavors may mask the delicate taste of the caviar and cause you to miss out on key nuances.
Also, keep in mind that the most luxurious caviars are often not used to accompany pasta, meats, and other main courses. The protein and pasta is the main event here, not the caviar, so you may not need a fine Beluga or Ossetra caviar to get the point across.
Even the world’s best restaurants will use slightly lower-tier caviars in these situations since the very best products should be enjoyed with no distraction. But for that pure, rich taste, you can’t beat a truly high quality caviar.
Time for Dessert
It may seem counterintuitive, but caviar actually works very well in partnership with sweet dishes and desserts. That sweet and savory effect can work in your favor if you know how to use it.
The most classic combo in the dessert department is a scoop of fine caviar layered onto a thin wafer of high-quality white chocolate.
Because milk and dark chocolates are much higher in cocoa content, we prefer white chocolate to provide a sweet contrast to the exciting flavors of the caviar.
To manufacture this magic at home, simply break off a piece of a white chocolate bar and place a small pile of caviar on top. A tiny amount is all you need since these are powerful flavors at work.
As you may imagine, some of the craziest caviar dessert monstrosities come from the world of Instagram, where there truly are no limits to what is possible.
Yes, we’ve even seen salmon roe sprinkled onto ice cream in some very indulgent displays. It looks like a clash between worlds, but the flavors and textures create something very exciting and new. Vanilla or caramel soft-serve is probably the way to go here if you must do it!
Finally, you can serve caviar as part of your after-dinner drink course, and the salty bursting sensation of the pearls is a pleasant diversion from the syrupy sweet flavors of fortified wine and port. Try out a few different pairings to see what tastes best to you and your guests.
If you thought that caviar was only meant to be served on ice with lemon wedges, think again! This is a hugely versatile ingredient that deserves a place in every course on the menu.
You’ll be surprised to discover the wide range of opportunities you have to utilize caviar in everyday dishes, and the simple application of the eggs can quickly spruce up simple appetizers if you aim to impress.
For those just entering the world of caviar, we recommend starting small. But these indulgent inventions are waiting for you once you master the basics and expand your palate.
Until then, be sure to leave us a question or comment at our FAQ page and follow us on social media for endless caviar inspiration.