Pomegranate Trio: “Caviar, Air and Paste."
(Smoked Sturgeon, Potato Blini, Pomegranate Vodka with Beluga Caviar)
By Assistant Executive Chef -- Fine Dining, Chef Kurtess Mortensen, Paris and Bally's Las Vegas, NV

For 4 Servings

8 Small Potato Blinis (recipe follows)
200g Thinly Shaved Smoked Sturgeon
100g Pomegranate "Caviar" (recipe follows)
Four Spoonfuls of Pomegranate "Air" (recipe follows)
40g Pomegranate Paste (recipe follows)
4 Shots Van Gogh Pomegranate Vodka
60g Cleaned Pomegranate Seeds
20g Beluga Caviar

Note: Most of these recipes have been developed using the products distributed by Chef Ferran Adria of El Bulli in Spain. The chemicals listed below are available from El Bulli under the label of the all natural “Texturas" line of products. To understand the all natural line of “Texturasî" products and how chefs use them, go to

Blini Ingredients:
4 Large Yukon Gold Potatoes
100g All Purpose Flour
3 Large Eggs
75g Crème Fraiche
Salt and White Pepper

1. Boil the potatoes in their skins. When a knife can just be inserted into the potato without feeling resistance they are cooked. While they are still hot, peel of the skins and pass through a ricer. Weigh out 400g of the potato product and place in a food processor. Pulse in the flour, and then add the eggs one at a time. Add the crËme fraiche a little at a time until the consistency resembles thick pancake batter. Season the batter to taste with salt and white pepper. The batter can be held warm for an hour, do not let it cool.

2. Brush a nonstick griddle warmed to 300F with clarified butter. Drop the batter in even tablespoon sized dollops onto the surface and cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side followed by 1-2 minutes on the second. Hold the blini on a warm nonstick sheet for a few minutes until ready to serve.

Caviar Ingredients:
250g Pomegranate Juice
4g Algin
500g Bottled Flat Water
4g Calcic

Mix the Algin with 1/3 of the pomegranate juice and blend, then mix in the rest. Separately, dissolve the Calcic in the water. Fill 4 syringes with the Algin/Pomegranate mixture. Expel it drop by drop into the Calcic base. Remove after 1 minute, strain and rinse the resulting caviar in cold water. Reserve in a clean container to be spooned on later.

Notes from Chef Kurtess:
Algin and Calcic are "Texturas" branded names for two all natural chemicals used in the spherification process. †Algin is a very refined and useable form of
Sodium Alginate. Calcic is the equivalent product of Calcium Chloride. Both are water soluble and when they are dissolved and combined they react to form a membrane between the two substances.

What is ALGIN?
A natural product extracted from brown algae (of Laminaria, Fucus, and Macrocystis genera, among others) that grow in cold water regions of Ireland, Scotland, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. Depending on the part of the algae that has been refined, the texture and Calcic reactivity of each alginate varies. For this reason, we have selected Algin as the ideal product for achieving spherification with guaranteed results

Characteristics: Presented in a refined powder. Gels in the presence of Calcic. Dilutes while cold with strong agitation. It need not be heated to produce spherification.

What is CALCIC?
This product is a calcium salt traditionally used in the food industry, for example in cheese making. Calcic is essential in the reaction with Algin that produces spherification. It is the ideal reactant for its high water solubility, considerable calcium content, and consequently great capacity for producing spherification.

Characteristics: Presented in granules. Highly water soluble. Great moisture absorption capacity

Air Ingredients:
250g Pomegranate Juice
10g Soy Lecithin (Lecite)

Mix 1/3 of the juice together with the lecite with a hand blender until dissolved. Blend in the remaining juice. Hold until just before use. Using a hand powered cappuccino foamer, blend the juice near the surface to create foam. Continue for a couple of minutes until several spoonfuls of the foam "air" sit on top of the surface of the liquid. Let sit for a minute or so to stabilize, then spoon off directly onto the plate. This product will not hold for long.

What is Lecite?
Lecithin can be derived, and is available, from a number of sources, soy lecithin being the most common and best priced. †It is also user friendly. I like the very refined Lecite product also distributed in the Texturas line.

A natural soy lecithin-based emulsifier, ideal for making airs. It is useful in the prevention of arteriosclerosis and contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Lecite is made from non-transgenic soy.

Characteristics: Presented in a refined powder. Cold soluble. Very soluble in aqueous mediums. Thanks to its great emulsifying power, Lecite is the ideal product for converting juices and other watery liquids into airs. It also has a surprising capacity to emulsify impossible sauces.

Paste Ingredients:
250g Pomegrante Juice
30g Granulated Sugar
10g Red Wine Vinegar
6 g Agar Agar

1. Bring the juice to a simmer with the sugar and vinegar. Add the Agar and blend in with a hand blender, return to a simmer. Pass through a chinoise into a pan to set. This will gell in the cooler.

2. When time comes to serve, blend the gel in a food processor or with a hand blender until the consistency resembles a thick sauce. Press onto the plate with a spoon.

What is Agar?
Extracted from a type of red algae (of the Gelidium and Gracilaria genera), AGAR is a gelling agent used in Japan since the 15th century. In 1859, it was introduced to Europe as a characteristically Chinese food, and at the start of the 20th century it began to be used in the food industry. It is a source of fiber and can form gels in very small proportions. It can be used to make hot gelatins.

Characteristics: Presented in a refined powder. Mix while cold and bring to a boil. Gelification is fast. Once gelled, it can withstand temperatures of up to 80 ∞C (hot gelatin). Allow it to rest for correct gelification. In acidic mediums, it loses part of its gelling capacity.

To Assemble the Dish:
Place two warm blinis onto each plate. Arrange 50g of smoked sturgeon on and around the blini. Place a spoonful of caviar onto the sturgeon and a spoonful of air along side. Spoon a tablespoon of the paste onto empty space on the plate and drag the spoon through it to create a "comma" shape. Fill four shot glasses with the vodka and drop in a few pomegranate seeds then sit the glasses on an empty part of the plate. Place 5g of the beluga caviar onto a caviar spoon; rest it across the top of the shot glass.

To Eat:
Enjoy the sturgeon and blinis with the three different flavors and textures of the same ingredient. Afterward, enjoy the vodka with the caviar, appreciating the textural similarities of genuine caviar and the imitation pomegranate version. Or, any way you like as long as you enjoy it!

Note: Measures are in metric.
For measurement conversion tables click here.

Bally's Las Vegas
3645 Las Vegas Blvd.
South Las Vegas, NV 89109
Office : 702.946.4476

Other Related Links:
Armenian Pomegranate Wine, Vodka and Liqueur
By George Brozowski

Pomegranate History and Folklore
By Shaheen Perveen


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