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My mom's appetizer de résistance is caviar pie. It shows up at Thanksgiving or Passover, if you're lucky, but never more than a couple times each year. She got the recipe from her mom. Caviar pie was all the rage in the '70s, thanks to a Craig Claiborne column in The New York Times. But it's timeless to me.
To build it, you use a springform pan—like for a cheesecake—and layer chopped boiled eggs, raw onion, sour cream and neon caviar into a parfait. Chill the thing for a couple hours. Hold your breath to unhook the perimeter. Then—look! It's always, somehow perfect.
Our family demolishes it with poppy seed pita crisps, salted matzo, and potato chips. We never finish the whole thing, which is the point—the leftovers become the next day's breakfast on rye toast.
All that to say, caviar pie is special to me. Which is what specialty ingredients are all about, right? Treating yourself. No guilt, no regret, hakuna matata. (Sorry, it's stuck in my head now , too.) There's a saying in my family about spending: you don't go on vacation to save money. Just like you don't buy rare or expensive ingredients in preparation for a simply okay meal.
That feels like a lot of pressure, right? Trying to live up to an ingredient's worth. This is where we come in—to lead you (and your caviar, your pine nuts, your saffron, and your fresh truffles) in the right direction. Follow these tried-and-true recipes to show off your spiffiest ingredients. Maybe they'll turn a special night into something more special—or even help to create a new tradition.
Do you have any special ingredient, special occasion traditions? Share in the comments below!