I was introduced to Mottra caviar some eight years ago and have never looked back. Caviar always has – and always will be – one of those ingredients with luxury status. There have, however, been issues with its sustainability over the years: sturgeon stocks have depleted in many parts of the world because of the fish being killed for their eggs.
Mottra farms the sturgeon in large tanks, and once the fish are six to seven-years-old, they’re “milked” of their eggs and released back into the tank for continued production. The fish are graded and there are some big old fish in the tanks that swim with species they are familiar with, like catfish and piranha.
Yep, you read that correctly; forget what you’ve learnt from James Bond films, piranha are very happy swimming around with their prehistoric- looking friends. I ate piranha for the first time last week when I visited Latvia. Mr Mottra himself, Sergei Trachuk, is experimenting with farming them and I can confirm they’re delicious; I’d certainly buy them if they were widely available in the UK.
Anyway, back to sturgeon, and the purpose of my visit to Riga; I often host Mottra dinners in London, but tonight I was to cook a caviar menu for the Latvian minister of agriculture, Janus Duklavs. It was an intimate dinner for 20 guests and I collaborated with star Latvian chef Martins Ritins in his restaurant Vincents in central Riga.
Martins and I cooked up a six-course dinner, which included my favourite dish: sevruga caviar on a baked potato, with an oyster lightly cooked in champagne and set back in the shell. It’s accompanied by a champagne and cucumber jelly with a spoon of sterlet caviar on top.
Martins cooked a delicious chilled pea soup with king crab and Oscietra caviar, served with a raw scallop, sliced and served back in its shell with a dashi dressing. I slipped in an old classic to finish from my days at Le Caprice: Nordic iced berries with Amadei hot white-chocolate sauce.
Mottra caviar baked potato