Caviar with Blini

Caviar with BliniChampagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams

New Year’s Eve brings Caviar to my mind. I am not alone in this. There is a glitz and glamour factor that just screams for something high-end and decadent. Search any cooking website for New Year’s Eve dishes, and you will inevitably be shown a caviar tidbit.

This year caviar is even more popular—or maybe we are just more comfortable spending the extra money. I’ve seen it everywhere, and we have been selling more here at the store. Also, there are more varieties of caviar available, including caviar substitutes like vegan caviar made from seaweed. And then there is snail caviar. (Um, no. Just…no.)

The culture around serving caviar makes the intense wine enthusiast look normal by comparison. Special plates, special spoons, temperature controls. The process is, well, fussy but sort of cool in a I just want to be James Bond for one night kind of way. It is also necessary. Improper serving can make even the best caviar not taste very good.

To be honest, It took me a number of tries to actually like caviar. Sure, I faked it a few times ’cause I wanted to hang with the cool foodie kids. But then I got a taste of The Good Stuff and knew what the hubbub was about. The Good Stuff isn’t fishy, and it pops in your mouth, and a little goes a long way—which is a good thing because it isn’t cheap.

I suggest if you are going to shell out the money for some good caviar, (and you should even just once) serve it simply. Toast points or more traditional Blini topped with caviar and sour cream or crème fraiche is the way to go. For a caviar dip or caviar pie, you are better off using the less expensive product.

No matter which way you go, if you take the plunge, feel free to stop by our Wine and Spirits counter and ask for help. Dennis and Chris can help you make the right buying decision…

Caviar with Blini
Adapted from Saveur
Makes 40 Blini

1 1⁄4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm milk
1⁄2 cup buckwheat flour
1⁄2 tsp. sugar
1⁄4 tsp. salt
2⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sour cream
1⁄4 cup heavy cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil

In a large bowl, mix yeast and milk well. Add buckwheat flour, sugar, and salt. Mix thoroughly, cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel, and set aside to rise until bubbles appear on surface, this will take about 1 hour.

Add all-purpose flour, sour cream, heavy cream, eggs, and butter. Mix thoroughly and, cover. Set the batter aside to rise for two more hours.

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook blini a few at a time by spooning batter, 1 tbsp. at a time, into hot pan and smooth with back of spoon (blini will flatten as they cook). The blini will be done when the edges brown and bubbles appear on surface. This takes about 1 minute. Flip blini; cook for 30 seconds more.

Transfer finished blini to a plate and cover with a clean dish towel while finishing cooking the remainder of the batter. Add oil to the pan as needed. Serve blini warm, brushed with melted butter, and topped with caviar.

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