Caviar Cheat Sheet

Interested—but intimidated by— caviar?

We’ve got you covered.

Dmitriy Shur is the vice president of Awers Caviar, the largest producer of caviar on the West Coast. The longtime Bellevue local talked with Reflections about the different styles and traditions of caviar, plus how and when he prefers to enjoy it.

In May, Awers is partnering with The Bellevue Club for a tasting event. If you’re new to caviar, enjoy this brief cheat sheet and get prepared for a fun evening.

KINDS OF CAVIAR

“The different types of caviar are named after their appearance,” Shur says. The most common are red and black—and here’s what distinguishes the two.

Red caviar comes from salmon. Locally, it’s harvested from pink, chum, coho and sockeye varieties. Red caviar typically has medium to larger eggs, a bolder taste and lower price point. It’s known for adding a pop of texture.

Black caviar is harvested from sturgeon, like osetra and hackleback, and bowfin. This variety has a mild, buttery taste and smaller grain, and is considered a luxury item. Shur says, “Everyone likes black caviar, even those new to caviar. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the taste.”

THREE WAYS TO ENJOY CAVIAR

1. The most traditional way of consuming caviar is to take a slice of crispy baguette and spread a light layer of unsalted butter on one side. Add a layer of caviar on top and enjoy.

2. For an updated modern twist, place mashed or thinly sliced avocado on toast of your choice then add a layer of red or black caviar.

3. For a special occasion, crepe-style blini are often paired with champagne and used on special occasions—especially New Year’s Eve. Try the recipe from Awers below.

Crepes with Red Caviar and Sour Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup milk (whole, low-fat or nonfat)
  • Butter or margarine to grease the pan

Preparation

  1. Beat the eggs well and combine with the salt and flour. Mix to a creamy consistency. Add the milk gradually and mix until smooth. If lumps remain, strain after mixing.
  2. Set mixture aside, or refrigerate. (May be prepared one to two days in advance and kept in the refrigerator until ready to use. Return mixture to room temperature and mix well before making blini.)
  3. To prepare the blini, grease a 6-inch skillet. Heat skillet over medium-high. Scoop about three tablespoons of the batter into a ladle or pitcher and add to the skillet. Tilt and rotate the skillet so the batter is lightly and evenly spread over the bottom of the pan.
  4. Heat until the edges start browning and come away from the pan easily and the top is set and dry. Turn the blini onto a towel, uncooked side down.
  5. Repeat process to cook more blini, lightly re-greasing the skillet every two to three blini. Add milk if the mixture seems too thick.
  6. To serve, arrange warm blini on a tray lined with a starched linen napkin. Put a small dollop of sour cream in the center of each, then place a few grains of caviar atop the sour cream.

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