Serving Caviar

Caviar, while undeniably glamorous, is a low-maintenance food: All you really need to eat it is a spoon. There are, however, several things worth remembering:

1. Avoid pasteurized caviar and buy only fresh, about 1-2 ounces (3-5 teaspoons) per person. Ask for samples and buy what tastes best—a higher price is not necessarily a reflection of better quality. Buy it no more than a few days before it is to be served, and keep it in the coldest part of your refrigerator until about a half-hour before serving (heat and oxygen are caviar's biggest enemies).

  1. To serve, simply stick the caviar tin on top of a bed of crushed ice, and serve it with a bone, mother-of-pearl, gold-plated, or even plastic spoon. Do not use silver or stainless steel; both caviar and spoon will suffer.

  2. Caviar may be piled on blini (see recipe) or on toast points or plain bread. Accompaniments include melted butter, minced green onions, finely chopped hard-cooked eggs (whites and yolks are kept separate), sour cream or creme fraiche, and lemon wedges. Fine caviar, though, is extravagant enough on its own, and we like it best unadorned.

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