Beet and Saffron Infused Whitefish Roe on a Crab Melt

by Olga Schafranek |

I've spent my entire life on one coast or the other (with some random places in between) so my access to delicious seafood has always been pretty substantial. Despite both sides knowing how to do seafood right, there are a few sea creatures that I associate with one side as opposed to the other. I think lobster in Maine can't be beat. And clam strips from a shack at any beach in Cape Cod are transformative. I can never eat a clam strip anywhere else. It just isn't worth the energy, honestly.

But crab and dishes like cioppino are so San Francisco to me. When I hear the word cioppino I imagine the Wharf or the Ferry Building. I can see the crumbs from the toasted bread and the white linen napkin about to get splashed with tomato-y broth.  

Making this crab melt gave me a quick trip back to the Bay without actually having to fly anywhere. Except I didn't use sourdough bread as suggested for the Beet and Saffron Infused Whitefish Roe Traditional Signature Bite. There are many "California" and "San Francisco" things about me, but loving sourdough isn't one of them. Crazy, I know. 

Instead I used a ciabatta type roll that I cut in half. I found good quality canned crab at a local fish market (make sure you talk to your fish monger about your best options) and mixed it with some finely chopped red onion, parsley, dill, salt, pepper, some lemon juice and seafood seasoning similar to Old Bay. I used about 4oz of crab. I stirred in some mayonnaise (my favorite is Just Mayo), and scooped the crab salad on top of the bread. I topped the crab with some slices of Gruyere cheese and stuck it under the broiler until the cheese melted. Once I pulled it out I topped with Tsar Nicoulai Beet and Saffron Roe and some dill. 




Beet and dill is a natural pairing to me (must be the Russian) and they garnish the delicate but flavorful crab salad so perfectly. The crunchy non-sourdough bread pulls the whole thing together. You might think the cheese with the roe could be odd but they play off each other very well. Plus melted cheese more often than not is a fabulous idea. 

If you don't feel like heading to the Wharf for a crab sandwich, make this simple and delicious one at home. Just don't forget the Beet and Saffron Infused Whitefish Roe. If you must, go ahead and use sourdough bread.

Na Zdorovye! 


PS: There is still time to take advantage of our Spring promotion! Use code easter17 at checkout for 20% off your order. This promotion is valid online only through April 14th, 2017. 






Bon Appetit's Healthyish - Poke Bowl with Gold Pearl Salmon Roe

by Olga Schafranek |

So it's been a couple months already since the start of the year and this is the time I really start to dwindle on all the grand plans I had on New Year's Eve. If you haven't bailed, that's great. But if you're like me, Bon Appetit's January issue has actually given us an out!

They call it Healthyish. Where we can be conscientious of what we put in our mouths without going crazy or living off bird seeds and blended cucumbers. A trendier name for the basic concept of "everything in moderation". This is something I was pretty much doing anyway, but now I could let myself feel accomplished about it and give it a fun hashtag.

One of their healthyish recipes is a guide to putting together a poke bowl. Yum. A perfect and less traditional way to serve some of our caviar. I'll use their outlined steps to show you how I constructed this masterpiece. 

1. Choose a base

I went with Japanese Soba noodles and cooked 4 ounces of them as per the package then tossed them in some toasted sesame oil. I think rice would have been delicious as well. This is basically a Hawaiian/Asian burrito bowl, after all. 

2. Choose a protein

We have a green grocer nearby with a little fish market in the back. They had some nice sushi-grade tuna and I picked up just under a pound. I made sure to ask the fishmonger if he would eat it raw himself before making my final decision. If you can't find fish you are comfortable eating raw, you can always use cooked salmon, shrimp or tofu as a protein. As always, make sure to ask the right questions and seek out the best seafood options available.

3. Choose a dressing

I found some ponzu dressing at the store and went with that. I cut the fish into 1/2" pieces and diced an avocado (I only ended up using about 1/4 pound of the fish). I put the avocado and tuna into a bowl. I added grated ginger with a few very thin slices of jalapeno and then tossed in some of the ponzu dressing and set it aside. 

4. Add the fun stuff

The possibilities are pretty endless. I went with a bunch of stuff. First, the avocado I already mentioned. I also quickly sauteed some sliced shiitake mushroom and pickled some radishes. I thinly sliced scallions on a bias and let the strips soak in some cold water to curl, then drained them and let them dry. I wanted some dried seaweed so I grabbed some pieces from one of those seaweed snack things and crushed them. I grabbed some sesame seeds as well. And then of course the main topper - Tsar Nicoulai Gold Pearl Salmon Roe

The noodles went into a bowl, topped with the tuna/avocado combo, I fanned out the radishes all pretty and made a cute little pile of mushrooms. The salmon roe was next, followed by a sprinkling of scallions, sesame seeds and crushed seaweed snacks. This dish looks and seems complicated, but it's not. The salmon roe was the perfect "fun stuff" garnish to this bowl of awesome.  

I felt like a pro making this dish. And I'm happy to embrace the healthyish lifestyle with it. My friend and I were just discussing cutting out sugar and wheat. Then immediately in the same conversation we made plans to bake little lark buns for the kids using sugar and wheat. But I can change that to whole wheat and honey for the #healthyish win. 

Na Zdorovye!




Reserve Classic Signature Bite

by Olga Schafranek |

I've already mentioned my trip to Europe with my childhood friends during winter break in college. It was the time I shamefully avoided eating about a million oysters for lack of knowing any better.                                                                         On that same trip, after we all said our goodbyes, I spent an extra night in Paris at my friend's uncle's apartment before continuing on to another location on my own. I think I went and had dinner somewhere (I wasn't a self-proclaimed foodie back then), but while hanging out in the evening the uncle invited me to join him for a feast of fingerling potatoes. 

In comparison to his apartment, he was a big guy and his even bigger personality overflowed his tiny kitchen as we took turns pulling potatoes out of a large pot. He would slice his in half and slather it with butter while chatting with me about potatoes and life. I was in a country with fabulous food and fancy restaurants and this experience was more authentic. More real. I mean, on top of it all, out the window the Eiffel Tower sparkled against a dark sky flecked with little stars. It was an impressionist's painting come to life. The end credits to a subtitled movie. 


I could eat buttered boiled potatoes all day every day, but this time I decided to make our Reserve Caviar Classic Signature Bite. I roasted my fingerling potatoes and topped them with a spoonful of sour cream, a hefty dollop of Tsar Nicoulai Reserve Caviar and a sprinkling of chives.

There's no real recipe here. After halving the potatoes, I simply tossed them in a little bit of olive oil with salt and roasted them at 400 degrees until they were fork tender. Once they cooled I added all the toppings.  

As its category suggests, this is a classic pairing of flavors and components. The caviar delivers its well-known pop against the soft sour cream and potato; the creaminess giving way to the brininess allowing the caviar to shine through. 

My favorite brand of sour cream to use is the European-style Wallaby. I can eat it right off the spoon, and my finger, when putting together this dish. 

 Pick up some Reserve Caviar by clicking here.Tickets to Paris unfortunately not included.


Na Zdorovye!




Back at the Farm: New Happenings

by Olga Schafranek |

Since the new year recently began, we thought we would take the opportunity to check in on the farm again and share with you some new developments. 

For the longest time, the Tsar Nicoulai farm only housed our sturgeon tanks and everything else was empty, open land. In recent years, we have been cultivating and taking full advantage of all the land has to offer. The orchard's plants we mentioned back in February are maturing and the smoke house is complete. 

Early September, our farm started its aquaponics program. Loaded with nutrients, recycled tank water is used to grow delicious vegetables. Lettuce and water crest are just a couple rewards of this truly sustainable objective.

It's never too early to start day-dreaming about Summer! An exciting new addition, our estate house, will open its doors in Summer 2017 for pop-up events, tastings, and private events. Tell your followers to brace themselves for your Instagram feed. After hanging out with sturgeon in one of the tanks, you'll be able to relax at the house, sit at the tasting bar, play at the game tables, enjoy the farm view from the comfortable seating area, go paddle boating, and cool off in the estate pool. And that's just a sneak peak of what's to come! 

I don't know about you, but I am ready to plan another trip out to the farm. And maybe move there. Yes. 

We are also very proud to share that our staff is full of women who share equal responsibilities with the men (like Hana, pictured above). From the website, to processing, to design, and even to the work on the farm, our female staff is a crucial part of our brand.

Living at the farm are more than just sturgeon! There are crawfish, goats, chickens, bass, and the farm mascot dog, Boston.

Keep track of our Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and, of course, the blog and our gallery for updates on these new happenings. 

Na Zdorovye,



Tsar Nicoulai Goes To A Ball

by Olga Schafranek |

(photo from

On November 11th, 2016, the first annual Russian Charitable Gala Ball in Miami, Florida, took place at the Ritz Carlton, South Beach. The Ball was a showcase of Russian culture and a way to bring people together in celebration of it. There was delicious food, exciting entertainment, and all around merriment.

Of course, what would a Russian event without caviar be? A total bust. Ok, I wouldn't go that far. But it certainly would be missed. Tsar Nicoulai was the proud Diamond level sponsor for the important delicacy at this inaugural event. 

Guests from across the globe came in support of two non-profit organizations - the Patriarch Tikhon Russian American Music Institute (PaTRAM) and the Prince Vladimir Youth Association (PVYA). The proceeds of the Ball were split among these two groups. 

Russian Orthodox Archpriest Andrei Sommer started the PVYA to bring youth together through cultural and religious events and community service activities. The active non-profit group has organized food drives, concerts and other social events. Father Andrei has also organized many conferences for Orthodox Christian youths to get together and celebrate their heritage and faith. He also happens to be married to my cousin and is a pretty cool guy! 

PaTRAM is a non-conventional Institute of Orthodox music offering lessons through video-conference and seasonal master classes. Their program is made available for people with busy schedules all across the world. Music is a large part of the Orthodox liturgy and the church is always in need of conductors and singers to beautify the service. 

(Photo from Ball attendee Natasha Zaharov)

Guests consisted of Russian-American youth, generous patrons, oligarchs, and many others. The VIP Cocktail Hour guests sampled Tsar Nicoulai Reserve Caviar and Triple-Smoked Sturgeon, while other guests were able to enjoy our Gold Pearl Salmon Roe and Paddlefish.

Sashkie Baranoff sampling Tsar Nicoulai (photo from Ball attendee Natasha Zaharov)

Russians take pride in their products (as does any culture), but Tsar Nicoulai's American-made caviar stands up to their biased palate. A friend of mine, Natasha Zaharov, who attended the ball, described a man at her table - shaved head, with a heavy Russian accent and velvet tuxedo jacket - who parked himself at the caviar station. He said it was the best caviar he ever tasted and returned several times for more samplings. He was impressed by the fact that it was made in America. Natasha says she heard many people share his sentiments. 

Xenia Maximow describing Tsar Nicoulai Caviar and all its wonderfulness (Photo from

We were happy to take part in this event.

To read more details and see additional photographs from the Miami Russian Charitable Gala, click here

I hope everyone is having a great 2017 so far! 

Na Zdorovye,