Introducing my daughter to caviar, but in a pie.
It’s only when this caviar pie appears at my doorstep that I realize how long it’s been since I last ate a pie like this. In truth, this is the first Mother’s Day gift I’ve ever received. My Bin and Boo give me cards on this special day and then take me out someplace nice to eat. Gifts to cherish yes they are, but this gift of pie makes this day for (this) mom even more so.
Lavished in lumpfish caviar, luxury is the province of this savory and sumptuous appetizer. A band of white is interrupted by split segments of lemon, they appear to be cartwheeling around the expansive elegance that they surround. On Mom’s Day, Boo and I share a few hours together for caviar and conversation.
My ten year old is looking at the pie somewhat skeptically. “Mom, is it a pie?” I murmur my assent, distracted as I am in the search for my gold (it seems fitting) tableware and white plates.
“But it’s not a dessert?” She presses.
Finally, I look up. “No hon, it’s a savory pie. Not sweet.” I lay a place setting for her on the kitchen table.
“And these fish eggs, “ she points, “are they like the ones you eat in sushi?” She takes a tiny, tentative taste. “Ooh, it reminds me of Japanese food!”
“Yup, but this is different. It’s called caviar and comes from a different kind of fish.”
There’s fulfillment in watching my daughter’s comprehension dawn on her face. She’s quick to understand and because I’m insistent on raising her as an adventurous food lover, she’s keen to try everything even “just once.”
A silver knife, its sharp blade slicing down and through the pie serves up portions of pleasure. A faintly fish-like perfume flits through the air, streaks of salt and brine trails in its wake. A second slice goes awry, an involuntary flick of my wrist hurls the top layer onto the plate – an exclamation of egg salad cascades in its wake. Momentarily stunned, Boo and I look at each other and then we giggle. I clean up the errant slice and slice another one.
Settled now and with a respective beverage each (water for her, wine for me), Boo and I try the pie. Like a palette of pigments before a painter – here, yellow, black, and white dominate with smudges of green – the pie is a painting, its exquisiteness now made edible.
Cream cheese confers a singularly deep creaminess, it lubricates and prepares the palate for what’s to come. Then roughly-chopped eggs tumble in along with herbs, a salad lightly sheathed in mayonnaise, but long on a rather strong onion flavor. The edible painting now ends with a period, plenty of them – pearls of obsidian black, raw and real. All throughout, lemon lingers, its counterpoint cleans and refreshes, making way for the next bite that craves yet the next.
I take a sip of wine and look at Boo. She’s eating slowly, every chew, deliberate, but joy is evident in her shining eyes.
“I’m surprised you like it, hon,” I say.
Those shining eyes go wide. “Me too, Mom. I didn’t think I would.” She sips some water. “Too many onions,” her nose wrinkles, “but I fished them out,” she says somewhat sheepishly, pointing at her plate, now a Pollock-esque pile of onions, green and yellow.
“And you like the caviar too?” Now my eyes are wide.
She nods gleefully. “They pop in the mouth!”
Because we both want more, we spread some of the caviar pie on the whole wheat crisps (that come with the pie) and some of my own rye crackers. Eaten like this, as a spread, it presents new flavor combinations that please. As we sit and savor, I see Boo’s delight at the new tastes introduced to her, a blossoming lover of food.
Like mom, like daughter.
Caviar Pie by Kitchen’s Best
4-inch personal (P580); 9-inch big (P2,280)
G/F McKinley Park Residences Condominium, 3rd Ave corner 31st St.Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
(02) 478 4870
Order a few days in advance.