Ah. The Upper Tier
In our global society, there exists an upper tier of people, a rarefied and moneyed class. They’ve arrived at this station either by achievement, marriage, or inheritance. They lead lives of pleasure and privilege and involve themselves with the quest and consumption of expensive goods.
Their trappings might include palatial mansions, luxury vehicles, expensive yachts, designer clothes, premium drink, and specialty foods that are extraordinary and unique. My subject, caviar, is considered to be one of those foods.
To purists, the term “caviar” refers only to the roe (eggs) from wild sturgeon in the Caspian and the Black Sea. Beluga caviar, thought by many to be the best, can cost around $250 an ounce. Pair it with an expensive Russian vodka costing thousands of dollars, and it becomes affordable only to a select few.
And The Rest Of Us
For the rest of us, we can indulge ourselves with the less expensive roe of other fish such as salmon, trout, whitefish, etc. We have found several companies who sell salmon roe at affordable prices. For example, a 2-0unce jar can be found costing about $12 plus shipping. At these prices, a host doesn’t have to take out a second mortgage to offer his guests a bit of affordable decadence.
Salmon Roe on Pumpernickel Toasts
4 ouncesCreme Fraiche (see recipe below)
2 ouncesSalmon roe
Several sprigsFresh dill
I would assemble this within 30 minutes of serving so the salmon roe doesn’t dry too much.
Time: 60 minutes
Cut the bread to the desired shapes and toast each side.
Top the toasts with the crème Fraiche and the salmon roe and serve.
To make homemade crème Fraiche, add to a small glass bowl two Tablespoons of buttermilk to 1 cup of cream. Let sit at room temperature for 8-24 hours. Can also flavor it with garlic powder, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and a bit of lemon juice. Put in a covered container and store in refrigerator up to two weeks.
Garnish with small sprigs of dill.
There is a custom that caviar should be served with a spoon made of inert materials, such as mother of pearl, animal horn, and wood. Caviar should never come in contact with metal, because metal may impart an undesirable flavor. It should be served in crystal, and always served cold.
Caviar is great with champagne or good sipping vodka. The Champagne or vodka cleanses the palate, so it should always precede the caviar.
Getting full enjoyment:
When eating, try to smash the salmon roe onto the roof of your mouth to enhance the salty goodness. This produces a flavor explosion on your palate, leaving the lucky recipient in ecstasy.