Champagne and Caviar: A 'Post Celebration' Brunch
Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 6:19PM
Michelle in Cauliflower Panna Cotta, Thomas Keller

As ridiculous as this might sound, I recently had 'leftover' caviar which needed to be used up! The caviar was initially served with a super good champagne -- at a post Board Re-Certification Fete. But after the party, there was still enough left for brunch. And believe me, caviar is just made for brunch....

Prized for it's firm bead and nutty/buttery texture -- Ossetra Caviar pairs beautifully with champagne and eggs, making it the perfect brunch food.

Ossetra is often served on blinis (i.e small, yeast leavened buckwheat pancakes) with creme fraiche. But for something more substantial, I made a cauliflower panna cotta which was the perfect perch for a dollop of caviar.

Panna Cotta (cooked cream) is a traditional Piemontese dessert custard, which is often served with berries for dessert.  But savory versions have become increasingly popular, like this recipe adapted from The French Laundry Cookbook.

The base of the pana cotta is cauliflower, butter and water, which is slowly simmered until all of the liquid is absorbed. Cream is then added and the mixture is pureed in a food processor. As a final step, gelatin is added to the puree to set.

Now, most (sane) people would choose to end the recipe here. But Thomas Keller takes it one step further and recommends topping the panna cotta with an oyster juice gelee.

OK, roll your eyes if you must ..... but bare in mind that next to ossetra caviar, oyster juice is almost pedestrian.  And if you can get your fish monger to open 3 oysters for you, this final step is really a snap. Not to mention, it adds flavor and visual appeal to the dish.

It is hard to top this course. But scrambled eggs with creme fraiche and fresh strawberries from the farmer's market weren't half bad either. In fact, we scrapped the plates clean.

The printable recipe is here.

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