Hollywood-Style Oscar Party Appetizers

Buckwheat Blinis
By chef Joe Srahulek, Sutton Place Hotel, Edmonton

3/4 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch sugar
1 pinch salt
2 large eggs, separated
2 tbsp butter
Crème fraîche

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat milk until scalded. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm. Add yeast to milk. Set aside.

Combine flours, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk in egg yolks and half of melted butter. Combine with yeast mixture and let rest at room temperature for 45-60 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, whip egg whites until stiff. Fold into batter.

To cook blinis, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add butter and heat until melted. Drop approximately 1 tbsp batter in pan for each blini. Cook until bubbles break surface, then flip to cook the other side for 1 minute. Serve immediately topped with crème fraîche and caviar.
Makes 15 to 20 blinis.


Northern Potato Salad with Caviar
By Scott McTaggart, Fusion Grill, Winnipeg

6 large russet potatoes, cubed to 1-inchsize
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3/4 cup golden caviar
Fleur de sel
White pepper, coarsely ground

In a large saucepan, boil water and add potatoes. Boil 15-20 minutes, until firm but tender. Cool and refrigerate briefly.
Fold sour cream into cooled potatoes. Gently fold in caviar. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Oysters with Parmesan, Truffle and Bacon
By chef Josh Anker, Long Beach Lodge, Tofino

3 slices double-smoked bacon
4 cups water
3 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp chili flakes
300 g parmesan cheese rinds
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass, whole
2/3 cup truffle oil
3 tbsp white truffle vinegar
1 egg
1 pinch salt
20 oysters, shucked
Fresh chives, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until most fat is rendered. Cut each slice into 4 pieces. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place bacon on pan. Top with another piece of parchment paper and another baking sheet. Place ovenproof weights (such as pots) on top of pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until crisp. Cool on paper towels.

In a lidded skillet, combine shallots, garlic cloves and chili flakes and sweat, covered, over medium-low heat until onions are translucent. Add water, parmesan rinds, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth and return to simmer.

Heat a saucepan or double boiler half-full of water over medium heat until simmering. Combine truffle oil, truffle vinegar, egg and a few drops of water in a stainless steel mixing bowl or top of double boiler. Heat over simmering water, whisking constantly, until lightly thickened and frothy.

Place oysters in simmering parmesan broth for 2-3 minutes, or until poached but still soft. Place each oyster on a bacon chip. Spoon some truffle froth on top. Garnish with fresh chive.
Makes 20 appetizer servings.