When I order sashimi from Catalina Offshore Products, I try to make the purchase worth more than the shipping. It is usually not difficult especially if I add a few trays of uni. The last time, however, they were out of uni. As a new item, they did have American sturgeon caviar (farm raised in California) and I ordered it.
To make the caviar experience authentic, we served the caviar with sour cream on blini pancakes which we made for the occasion.
At one time, in the past, we were curious to find out what all the hype was about caviar. So we had several caviar tasting parties with our good friends to try different kinds. As a legacy of those good times we had the special caviar serving dish shown below. It was given to us by our fellow tasters and was quietly tarnishing in the cupboard since it has been quite some time since we used it. My wife found it, polished it up and used it to serve the caviar.
As you can see in the picture, unfortunately, the amount of the caviar was ridiculously minuscule. Yes, the entire contents of the package are on display there at the bottom of the serving dish. I should have checked the specifications more carefully. I don’t know what I expected (probably something closer to an ounce) but it certainly not just the 10 grams (0.35oz) we received. This is by far the smallest tin of caviar I have ever seen. For a similar or slightly higher price per unit, we could have gotten genuine Russian Beluga.
In any case, to make the blini, I followed the recipe by Emeril Lagasse. I am familiar with the method of using both yeast and baking powder to leaven bread but his recipe used yeast and then whipped egg whites. As usual, my wife made the batter following the recipe and I cooked the pancakes (with my left hand since I was still recovering from my surgery on my right hand).
1 package (1/4-ounce) dry active yeast
3 cups milk, warm to 110 degrees F
1/4 cup butter, for cooking
The only modification we made to the original recipe was to let the dry yeast proof. We did this by adding it to a small amount of warm (110F) water with a pinch of sugar, letting it stand undisturbed for 10 minutes to make sure it was vigorously bubbling. Then we added the mixture to the milk and butter mixture, mixed in the egg yolks, flour, and folded in the stiff-peak whipped egg whites. I checked the consistency and added more water to make the batter loose enough to spread as shown below into just over 2 inch pancakes. (I found that I usually have to adjust the consistency of pancake batter to get it right, regardless of the recipe I use).
After 1 to 1 and half minutes on medium low heat, I flipped the pancakes and cooked them for another minute.
For libation, we opened a good California sparkling wine Mumm Napa “DVX” 2001. This is a good clear sparkling wine with some depth; green apple, melon and hint of yeast or bread-like flavor and fine bubbles. (The other picture shows the caviar package).
Although the taste of the American sturgeon caviar was very good and went perfectly with the blini, sour cream and the sparkling wine, it was a cruel tease. There was only enough for 4 very small servings if we stretched it. That was just enough to ignite our dormant appetite for caviar. My wife immediately pronounced that we had to go get some more. Since the blini batter made close to 3 dozen pancakes foraging for more caviar seems justified. The additional supplies, however, will have to come from some other source.