Potato Rostis With Smoked Salmon, Quail Eggs And Caviar

These potato pancakes make a perfect lunch or light supper dish.

450 g (1 lb) potatoes 1 red onion, grated
2 egg yolks
salt and black pepper
olive oil for frying

4 quail eggs
65 ml (2 1/2 fl oz) crème fraiche
100 g (3 1/2 oz) smoked salmon, diced
100 g (3 1/2 oz) Sevruga or Osetra caviar

1. Peel the potatoes and grate them raw into a bowl. Rinse well, drain, and then wrap them in a clean towel to draw out the remaining moisture. Return them to the howl and mix in the onion, egg yolks and seasoning. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan. Divide the potato mixture into eight halls, and then flatten them out slightly. Fry over a moderate heat for around 10 minutes on either side, until golden brown. Remove from the pan, drain on kitchen paper and transfer to a plate in a warm oven.

2. Heat the frying pan with a little more oil, then carefully break the quail eggs into it and fry until cooked (about 1-2 minutes). Set them aside to keep warm.

3. Warm 4 plates and put 2 rostis on each. Place a spoonful of crème fraiche on one rosti and pile on a quarter of the smoked salmon. Pop a quail egg onto the other rosti and top with 2 tsp of caviar. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Serve with Champagne, top Sauvignon Blanc, fino sherry or vodka.

Crab And Caviar In Crepe Tartlets

For an exquisitely fishy starter or snack try these tartlets. Alternatively, double the quantities for an excellent lunch dish.

75 g (3 oz) plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp oil
120 ml (4 fl oz) milk / tbsp chives, finely chopped

30 g (1 oz) butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
50 g (2 oz) plain flour
120 ml (4fl oz) milk
100 g (3'/> oz) fresh crabmeat
50 g (2 oz) Sevruga or Osetra caviar

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400° F/Gas Mark 6). Sift the flour into a bowl. Gradually stir in the beaten eggs, then the oil, milk and chives and beat lo a smooth batter. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour.

2. Lightly grease and heat a heavy-based pan. Pour 2-3 tbsp of batter into the pan and cook until golden brown, turning and repealing for the other side. Remove the crepe from the pan and set aside; repeat with the rest of the batter mixture.

3. Using a cutter, cut out rounds from the crepes, large enough to fit 10 cm (4 in) tartlet pans (the non-stick ones for mini-tarts are best for this). Line the tartlet pans with the crepe rounds and bake for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

4. To make the filling, heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook until soft. Stir in the flour, cooking for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, gradually stirring in the milk and crabmeat. Return to the heat and stir until the sauce boils and thickens. Allow to cool. Just before serving, spoon the crab mixture into the crepe cups and top with caviar.

Makes 12

Serve with vintage Champagne, top white, burgundy (ie Cotes de Beaune Premiers or Grands Crus), white Bordeaux (ie Graves or Pessac-Leognan) or Mosel Riesling Kabinett.

Mini Pizzas Topped With Caviar

These make a sophisticated hut simple, bile-sized snack, that even Italians should he happy to hand round at a party.

Pizza bases
1 1/2  tsp dried yeast or 10 g (1/4 oz) fresh yeast
250 ml (8 fl oz) luke-warm water
375 g (12 oz) strong plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp virgin olive oil, plus a little extra to oil the bowl

100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) crème fraiche
50 g (2 oz) Sevruga or Osetra caviar
200 g (7 oz) smoked salmon
1 tbsp dill, roughly snipped

1. Preheat the oven to210°C (450°F/Gas Mark 8), and insert a lightly oiled baking pan. Sprinkle the yeast over 2 tbsp of the warm water in a small bowl; allow to stand for about 5 minutes until dissolved. Sift the flour with 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture, the oil and the remaining water. Combine all the ingredients together and work into a dough; keep kneading the dough until it is smooth and elastic, which should lake about 8 minutes.

2. Lightly oil a large bowl. Put the dough in the bowl, cover with a damp cloth or clingfilm and allow to rise in warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size (or you can leave the dough to rise overnight in the refrigerator).

3. Pull off a small amount of dough and roll into a ball about 2 cm (1/2 in) in diameter, You will need a well-floured board as this dough is rather sticky. Press it into a flat pizza shape, about 5 cm (2 in) across. Place the "pizzas" on a floured baking sheet, until you have filled it with the rounds. Then pull out the hot baking sheet from the oven and quickly transfer the pizzas onto it. Put into the oven immediately and cook for 8-10 minutes until crisp.

4. Spread the cooked pizzas with crème fraiche then place a small piece of smoked salmon on one half of each one. Place a small spoonful of cavair on the other half and garnish with dill.

Makes about 20

Serve with NV Champagne, Sancerre/Pouilly-Fume, Mosel Riesling Kabinett or Pinot Bianco.

Canape: Caviar And Smoked Salmon Chequerboard

This is a classic canape, that is often served in top hotels. Beluga is the best variety to use, but, depending on the depth of your pocket, it can also be made with Osetra or Sevruga. For a sensational impact you could use Beluga and Almas caviar instead of smoked salmon to contrast with it.

6 slices thin white sandwich loaf
50 g (2 oz) butter
125 g (4 1/2 oz) Beluga caviar
225 g (8 oz) sliced smoked salmon

1. Lightly toast six or more slices of thin white bread (preferably a square loaf, if you can find one) and spread thinly with butter.

2. Take half the slices and spread them with caviar. Cover the other slices with the smoked salmon. Trim off the crusts and, using a sharp knife, cut all the slices into equal-sized squares or diamonds.

3. Place side by side, alternating the caviar and the smoked salmon, so that you end up with a chequerboard appearance. Serve immediately.

Makes about 54

Serve with NV Champagne or vodka.

Canape: Sliced Lobster Tail And Caviar On Croutons
You can use ordinary toast instead of croutons if you prefer, but it is tastier with the seasoned croutons in the recipe.

light oil for frying
1/2 chicken stockcube
4 slices white bread
1 lobster tail
50 g (2 oz) Sevruga caviar

l. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Crumble the stockcube into the oil, then fry the bread until it turns an even, gold color. Drain well on kitchen paper.

2. Using a small round culler, cut out circles of fried bread. Slice the lobster tail vertically into medallions and place one on lop of each crouton. Top with caviar.

Makes 12

Serve with NV Rose Champagne or good white burgundy (ie Cote de Beaune Premiers or Grans Crus).