Caviar: A Love Story

by Olga Schafranek |

Valentine’s Day approaches. Boxes of chocolates start to grab your attention at the store even though they have been slyly hanging out there since the day after Christmas. The pressure for the perfect day, of romance or joint boycott, builds. Love is in the air, they say. All the passionate, platonic, and crazy kinds of it. 
These different kinds of love take nurturing. Thoughtfulness. Time. Effort.
Our infused Golden Whitefish roes are a result of similar labors of love.

Tsar Nicoulai Beet Saffron Whitefish Roe

In the past, surplus whitefish roe would be discarded. Select caviar houses, Tsar Nicolai included, began making infusions to liven up the roe and create a market for it. How many rom-coms do we see where someone reinvents or rediscovers themselves, gets the guy or girl back and lives happily ever after? Our Caviar Master, Monica, enhances the natural sweetness and brininess of Golden Whitefish roe with various natural and organic products creating perfect marriages of flavors. 
Our Beet + Saffron Whitefish Roe is the perfect choice for your Valentine's Day dinner. It has a vibrant and gorgeous color with subtle and seductive flavors. It's bling on a plate (a happy alternative if you aren't gifting bling in a little black box). 
We took a variation of the Beet + Saffron luxe signature bite as a first course for this Valentine's Day menu. We start with a scallop topped with the infused roe sitting prominently in the center of velvety cauliflower soup. It's simple yet thoughtful. Not over complicated but not boring. Just how a dream relationship would be. 
Cauliflower Soup with Seared Scallops, Lemon Oil and Caviar (Serves 6)
(Adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2006) 

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 cup chopped white onion
1 garlic clove, sliced
3 3/4 cups (1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces) cauliflower (from 1 large head)
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whipping cream Coarse kosher sal
Freshly ground white pepper 1 leek (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
6 sea scallops, patted dry
1-2oz jar Tsar Nicoulai Beet + Saffron Gourmet Roe
6 teaspoons purchased lemon-infused grapeseed oil
Finely chopped fresh chives


    1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. 
    2. Add cauliflower, broth, and cream. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer gently until cauliflower is tender, about 18 minutes.
    3. Puree soup in small batches in blender until smooth or use an immersion blender. Season soup with kosher salt and white pepper. 
    4. To serve: Blanch leeks in small saucepan of boiling salted water 1 minute; drain. Place some of leek in center of each bowl. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in medium skillet over high heat. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Sear until brown and just opaque in center, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Place 1 scallop on leek in each bowl; top scallop with caviar. Ladle soup around scallop, drizzle with 1 teaspoon lemon oil, and sprinkle with chives.

      Do ahead: soup can be made one day ahead, steps 1-3. Cool slightly. Cover and chill. Reheat in a saucepan before serving.


      The first time I made a Valentine’s Day dinner for my then boyfriend, now husband, was during my senior year of college. Dinner was massive pork chops and dessert was chocolate fondue. I covered my on-campus apartment in hanging pink paper hearts. There is still one of them on our fridge.

      Seven years of marriage and obsessing over food trends later, my Valentine’s Day dinners have gotten a little more sophisticated. I followed the cauliflower soup with a simple roasted rack of lamb and an herb and arugula salad with pickled onions and preserved lemons. Then finished off with chocolate covered strawberries that I shaped into a heart – an ode to the fondue of our original Valentine’s Day.

      Make caviar a part of your love story. To order Beet + Saffron Whitefish Roe for your Valentine’s Day celebration, click here.

      Na Zdorovye!


      To re-create the rest of the menu, see recipes and notes below:

      Roasted rack of lamb (serves 2-3)
      I kind of winged it with directions on the package of lamb.  

      1.5 lb Rack of lamb 
      Salt and pepper
      Chopped garlic 


      1. Preheat oven to 425°F
      2. Season rack of lamb with salt, pepper and garlic 
      3. Place on baking sheet or roasting pan and roast for about 18 minutes in the oven or until you achieve desired doneness (internal temperature of 145°F for medium rare) 
      4. Let meat rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving 

      Herb Salad with Preserved Lemons and Pickled Red Onions (makes about 7 cups)
      (Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2015)

      If ever there was a salad described as sexy, this would be it. Though my husband says it reminds him of fields in camp, this insanely delicious dish is our new favorite. 


      ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
      1 cup red wine vinegar
      ½ cup sugar
      ½ preserved lemon, flesh removed, peel sliced into thin strips *
      1 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems
      1 cup mint leaves
      1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
      ½ cup dill sprigs
      3-4 cups of arugula 
      Olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and flaky sea salt (for serving)


        1. Place onion in a small heatproof bowl. Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour over onion and let cool.
        2. Drain onion and place in a medium bowl; add preserved lemon, cilantro, mint, parsley, dill and arugula and toss to combine. Drizzle lightly with oil and lemon juice, season with salt, and toss again to coat.

        *I make a cheater version by peeling the zest of a lemon with a vegetable peeler trying to avoid any pith, slicing very thinly and boiling in sugar, water and salt. Let cool before adding to the salad.