“Prepare yourselves for the roaring voice of the God of Joy!” – Eurides, The Bacchae
Every New Year’s Eve, I host an over the top gastronomic party with close friends to celebrate the passing of one year and the birth of the next. It usually divulges into a Bacchanalian celebration in the most classic sense, the table laid with the finest china and silver, and our stomachs are filled from the rich man’s larder – Champagne, turbot, black truffles, caviar and foie gras. Over the years, it became more apparent and abundantly clear to me, the better the ingredient the simpler the preparation needs to be. Simple and pure combinations, like Poulet de Bresse and a fine white Burgundy or perhaps an older Barolo with white truffles, are timeless and sublime combinations that cannot, nor should be improved upon. And so follows with caviar, a simple preparation is always best and preferred.
A tin of caviar on a bed of ice is all you need – Sturia caviar can be eaten on its own. You’ll love caviar’s roll-in-the-mouth eggs when you taste it in small spoonfuls.
This year, I bought a 250 gram tin from my absolute favorite caviar producer, Sturia. They are based in Bordeaux, and are France’s leading caviar producer who has pioneered caviar production worldwide and offer simply the finest caviar available, in a variety of styles. My preferred is the Primeur, which is refined for only four weeks as opposed to several months, and has a taste explosion of creamy hazelnuts, that is both subtle and unique. I wanted to do a dish so simple that it allows the flavor of the caviar to shine through. I opted for a dish I prepared for a long time as a chef, Crepes Vonnas (potato crepes) with Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche. Famed three star Michelin chef Georges Blanc popularized these feather light potato crepes that his grandmother Elisa, one of the famed Mere Lyonnaise, invented. Read my post on the Superstar Women Chefs that revolutionized French cooking.
These crepes are perfect on their own, with caviar or even served with a simple roast chicken (here is my method for simple roast chicken). They make the perfect dish when hosting a dinner at home because of their rare combination of ease and elegance. Try them this New Year’s Eve and share your creations with us on social media with the hashtag #pistouandpastis. We LOVE to see what you make!
Watch this video of Georges Blanc, from the Great Chefs series, making a variation of Crepe Vonnas at his excellent restaurant in Vonnas, France.
If you want to buy Sturia Caviar please PM me for details and where to buy the caviar.
- Potato Crepe Batter
- 1 pound yukon gold potatoes
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 eggs
- 4 egg whites
- 4 tablespoons cream
- Everything else
- 8 ounces creme fraiche or sour cream
- 8 slices of smoked wild salmon
- as much caviar as you can afford
- Boil yukon gold potatoes and cook till mashable, about 15 minutes.
- Peel potatoes while hot and mash in a food mill or potato press.
- Add milk, flour and whole eggs.
- Lightly beat egg whites and fold in.
- Add cream and adjust seasoning. Depending on what you are serving these with you may want to add a few grates of nutmeg.
- Cook tablespoons of crepe batter in a nonstick pan with lots of butter. When they are brown and crispy flip over and cook on other side. Despite the name and your possible connotations with it, these crepes are more like thick pancakes than wide, flat crepes.
- Put a spoonful of creme fraiche on a room temperature plate and top with two slices of smoked salmon.
- Cover with a potato crepe.
- Garnish with more creme fraiche and as big a spoonful of caviar as you can.
- I recommend a great glass of champagne to accompany this.