Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Caviar Pie: A Classic Appetizer

The first time I had this delicious appetizer was at a birthday party quite a few years ago — I had never seen, or tasted, anything so fabulous. Caviar Pie is actually a layered spread, not a pie at all and if done really well, is rather like creating edible art. Topped with a whimsical arrangement of caviar from the finest Beluga, Sevruga or Oscietra caviar to more reasonably priced salmon roe or lumpfish, this layered appetizer embraces many of the accompaniments traditionally served with this luxurious delicacy: chopped egg, mayonnaise, dill, chives and fresh lemon. If you have a mother of pearl or bone serving knife, caviar purists will appreciate that special touch, since fine caviar is not supposed to come in contact with metal utensils. Any way you slice it, this gorgeous Caviar Pie recipe is a delicious and sophisticated way to start any special evening over the holiday season.

Festive Caviar Pie
Serves 10-12

1 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

8 hard-boiled large eggs, finely chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream or crème fraîche
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
2 tsp finely grated fresh lemon zest
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

1 small jar of salmon roe, black, red or golden lumpfish caviar, drained
Lemon wedges
Parsley sprigs 

Spread the chopped onion on paper towel to absorb moisture. Mince the eggs and combine with mayonnaise, and set aside. Beat the cream cheese and sour cream together until very smooth. Add the dill, lemon zest and chives, mixing well.

Lightly coat a 9" round springform pan with a little mayonnaise or unflavoured vegetable oil. To assemble, spread the egg mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the drained onions on top. Drop the cream cheese mixture by spoonfuls on top of the onion layer and spread gently with the back of a spoon or spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 3 hours or overnight.

Before serving, gently spoon the caviar over the cream cheese in concentric circles with three different colours of caviar, making sure they don't intermingle. To release the pie, run a knife along the inside of the pan then carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. To serve, place the caviar pie on a large platter and garnish with lemon wedges and parsley around the edge. Serve with unsalted crackers, toast tips or blinis.

photo courtesy: Caviar Cravings/The Seattle Caviar Blog