Enjoy This Luxurious Pairing, Just Because.
Indulgence isn’t a particularly “American” trait given our Puritan history. Of course, modern life and its proliferation of “buy me-buy me” advertising makes even the most frugal person wish for more. In fact, many of us tend to feel that we can only indulge on special holidays — Valentine’s Day, Christmas, our birthday. Instead of being stoic, enjoy life ever day, in every way. The stuff of greeting card sentiment? Not when we are talking vodka and caviar. Let the party begin…
At Petrossian Caviar in Beverly Hills, General Manager Christopher Klapp strives to make caviar accessible to everyone. He often tastes people on numerous caviars as each type is unique in mouth feel, flavor, and color. Some literally pop in your mouth, while others are velvety smooth on the tongue. Some taste of fresh salt air and others are almost nutty. Bottom line: There is a caviar for everyone. And, if you sip vodka in between bites, you will discover an entirely new range of flavors that continue to evolve as you eat.
For those who aren’t keen on eating caviar solo, it is a luxurious topping – a little goes a long way — for everything from simple blinis (min Russian-style pancakes) with crème fraiche to the rich and creamy Eggs Royale (recipe below) that is one of Petrossian’s best selling appetizers.
When eating caviar, Klapp leans toward certain vodkas because of the way they interact with the caviar’s basic flavor profile. The caviar should be in the spotlight here with the vodka acting as a complement not a competitor. This doesn’t mean that the vodka should be “flavorless.” Rather, it suggests that the flavor profile should be full and balanced to offset the richness of the caviar. Old-school vodkas that taste like the grain from which they are distilled actually work beautifully here. Some to try: Jewel of Russian, a traditional full-bodied Russian vodka, as well as the indulgent Jean Marc XO, and also Stoli Elit and Absolut Elyx. When the choice of vodka is right, there is a delicious marriage of flavors unlike anything you have ever tasted.
Eggs Royale (soft Scrambled Eggs with Vodka-Whipped Cream and Caviar)
Courtesy of Chef Giselle Wellman, Petrossian Caviar
Makes: 4 eggs
- 4 Organic Eggs
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 1/2 cup of Heavy Cream for egg mixture
- 1/2 cup of Heavy cream for whipping
- 1 tablespoon of Vodka
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 20 grams caviar
- Small heavy bottom saucepan
- Egg Topper
Preparation: Add the half cup of heavy cream to a bowl with the vodka, season to taste and whip to hard peak. Set in the refrigerator.
For Soft Scrambled Eggs:
Use the egg topper to cleanly remove the top of the egg shell. Place the egg in a bowl and then clean and save the shell for presentation. Repeat with the remainder of the eggs. In the bowl with the eggs, add the heavy cream (the one without the vodka mixed in.) Whisk to incorporate the cream and the egg together while creating air at the same time. Make sure that the yolks and the egg whites are fully incorporated. This is a very important step.
With your saucepan on low, add the butter and let it melt. Add the egg mix with a pinch of salt and pepper then start whisking. Ideally it is preferred to whisk the whole time. This is not a race to the finish line. The slower you cook the eggs the creamier they are. The whole point is to incorporate air into the eggs while they are cooking; when you do this, air gets trapped inside the protein and creates a light and fluffy texture.
Around half way through you start to see custardy curds of egg forming, and the mixture becomes a little thicker. Control the heat by moving the saucepan on and off the heat instead of raising and lowering the heat.
Just before the egg mixture reaches your desired consistency, remove the skillet from the heat; the heat from the pan will continue to cook the egg mixture after you remove it.
Add one tablespoon of cold butter and incorporate it into the eggs. This will help lower the temperature of the egg to stop the cooking process.
Spoon some soft scrambled egg into each cleaned egg shell until about 3/4 full. Fill the rest of the shell with the whipped vodka cream. Top it with 5 grams of Petrossian Caviar, Classic Transmontanus suggested.)