POTATO CHIPS WITH SMOKED CRÈME FRAÎCHE AND CAVIAR
(Makes six appetizer portions)
This is a high-low recipe of the highest order, pairing luxurious caviar with the lowly (yet perfect) potato chip. It’s a variation on a recipe Ludo Lefebvre sometimes prepares with home-cured salmon roe and bing cherries. At our dinner party he topped the dish with baby strawberries, but it’s fantastic without them as well.
1 large Kennebec potato
1 gallon canola oil
2 cups crème fraîche
1½ cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons smoked oil (see recipe below)
2 ounces caviar
Peel potato. Using a meat slicer or mandoline, slice potato on the thinnest setting. Put slices in cold water and place on towel to dry. Heat canola oil to 275 degrees in a large heavy pot. Fry chips in oil until crispy but still light in color. Dry on paper towels and season with salt to taste.
Combine crème fraîche and heavy cream in mixer. Whip with whip attachment on medium until light and airy. Add smoked oil and season with salt to taste. Place one teaspoon crème fraîche in center of potato chip and top with one teaspoon caviar.
1 cup cooled hardwood charcoal embers
2 cups grapeseed oil
Twenty-four hours before dinner, place cooled embers and grapeseed oil in a metal container. Cover with aluminum foil and let sit overnight. Strain oil through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve.
HACKLEBACK CAVIAR PIZZA WITH EGG, NORI AND GARLIC CHILI OIL
(Makes two medium pizzas)
The guys at Animal make their own, but we’ve substituted store-bought garlic chili oil, which you can find online or in gourmet food shops. They also make an exquisite pizza dough that requires 48 hours of fermentation. Use your favorite pizza dough recipe, or purchase fresh dough from Whole Foods or your local pizza joint. And if you have a pizza stone, by all means use it.
1 large ball fresh pizza dough
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced and patted dry
1 red onion, diced
20 garlic flowers
6 tablespoons garlic chili oil
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 nori sheets, ground to a powder in spice grinder
2 ounces hackleback caviar
Stretch pizza dough out on oiled baking sheets. Bake in a 500-degree oven until top is cooked and dough is a light brown, about eight minutes. Top with mozzarella and cook until dough is a deep golden brown and lightly charred on the edges, at least five minutes more, until cheese is properly melted. Divide topping ingredients in half and scatter on pizzas so you get a bit of everything in each bite.
CORN CAKES WITH SMOKED STURGEON, CAVIAR AND MAPLE CREAM
This recipe combines Jon Shook’s and Vinny Dotolo’s love of Southern cooking (corn cakes) with one of their great culinary obsessions: seafood. The result is a salty-sweet, almost dessert-like dish.
¾ cup flour
1 ounce cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1½ cups cottage cheese
3 cups milk or buttermilk
3 whole eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup cooked corn
1½ ounces butter, melted
Vegetable oil, as needed
2 cups maple cream (see recipe below)
4 ounces smoked sturgeon
2 ounces caviar
2 ounces maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk wet ingredients and corn together in a large bowl with half the butter. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon, then add remaining butter (batter may be lumpy). Pour a quarter cup of batter onto preheated griddle prepped with vegetable oil; cook until corn cakes are lightly golden on each side.
Place enough maple cream to cover the center of an appetizer plate and add smoked sturgeon on top. Place cooked corn cake on top of sturgeon, add a dollop of caviar and drizzle with maple syrup. Garnish with chives.
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup buttermilk
Combine ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Leftover maple cream can be served with pancakes the next day.