Gift Guide 2015: Fish Egg Express

December 9, 2015

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One of the things I miss most about my years at Conde Nast is the annual explosion of high-end holiday gifts.  Over the years these included everything from rare wines to cashmere blankets, monogrammed sheets and even (I am not making this up), a sterling silver yoyo from Tiffany.

But one of my bosses always gave me caviar, and that’s the gift I miss the most.

Should you be in an extravagant mood, here’s one suggestion.

Roe is a new company intent on simplifying the purchase of caviar. They offer only one kind of caviar, and only during the months of November and December. Their caviar is sustainably raised in California and packed with a minimum of salt.  Each tin contains the eggs of a single sturgeon, and if you order the 500 gram tin it comes with a wooden serving box. The caviar is very clean-tasting, with a faint pop. And overnight shipping is free.

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If you’re in a more extravagant mood, this osetra from Russ and Daughters is truly spectacular. The color is amber to dark golden, the flavor slightly fruity.

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And for those of us who love roe, but can’t quite see treating ourselves (or our friends) to such a major extravagance, Zabar’s salmon roe is a great, affordable substitute.  I really love this stuff.  And if you’re looking for a way to use it, consider blini. My recipe, from My Kitchen Year:

BUCKWHEAT BLINI

Shopping List

1⁄4 cup buckwheat flour

1 teaspoon yeast salmon or trout roe

Staples

1⁄2 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons

(1⁄2 stick) butter 1 cup milk
2 eggs
sour cream

Mix the flour and the buckwheat flour. Add the sugar, salt, and yeast. Put the butter and milk into a small pot and cook until

the butter has melted. Cool it to the point that when you stick your finger in it is warm, but not hot, then whisk the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Cover with a plate or plas-
tic wrap, and set it in a warm place to rise.When it is about doubled (about an hour and a half ), whisk in the eggs.

You can use it now, or store it in the refrigerator for a day or so; it’s better on the second day, but be sure to give it a good stir before you heat your griddle.

Russians like their blini large; they say you should slather them so abundantly with butter that it runs down your arms as you eat. But I also like them small. Cook them on a butter-brushed pan about a minute on each side, and keep them cozy in a 200-degree oven until the batter is entirely used up.

Serve them warm, topped with lots of sour cream and generous dollops of salmon or trout roe.

 

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