“Vodka, caviar, blinis, pickled beet eggs, a retro shrimp salad…celebrate like the Russians do, in style” — Paul Ebeling
New Year’s Eve is a drinking party not a dinner party with lots to eat. On New Year’s Eve in Russia, the table is covered with a wonderful display of food including tart pickles, bread, salads, caviar and more.
Shots of icy vodka are poured, properly toasted, gleefully downed, and chased with a fortifying snack.
Toast, Drink, Eat Repeat! There no more symbolic or festive way to mark the rolling of the old year into the New Year.
Drink Like a Russian
1. If you want to drink lots of vodka, you must eat lots of food. Fill out the spread with sliced bread, try challah, rye, or lepyoshka flatbread, butter, and a mix of pickles. Eat and drink in tandem during the night.
2. Freeze your vodka. Bring out the bottle only to pour into small pitchers or shot glasses before each toast.
3. All you need are shot glasses. Responsible host trick: Get the smallest ones you can.
4. The toasts, maintain the rhythm: After a heartfelt toast, everyone raises their glasses and drinks. Then comes eating, then the process repeats. No drinking without toasts, and no drinking between toasts!
5. Use affordable vodka for infusing; pour the good stuff (try Russian Standard) straight.
Serving caviar with style
➤ Diversify. Caviar refers only to sturgeon eggs. There’s a range of tasty, affordable fish eggs, or roe. Get 2–3 oz. per person.
➤ Mother-of-pearl spoons are the gold standard for serving, avoid silver or steel.
➤ To go luxe, set out blinis, challah, chopped chives, sieved hard-boiled egg yolks, and cultured butter or crème fraîche. For a casual setup, put out butter, white bread, and roe.
➤ Crushed ice makes for a nice presentation, but it is not strictly necessary.
➤ Pickled beets give the puréed filling in these eggs a welcome tang that contrasts wonderfully with all the richly flavored dishes on the table. When making these, save the hard-boiled egg yolks for your caviar accoutrements.
Those Beet-Filled Eggs
- ACTIVE TIME 20 mins
- TOTAL TIME 2 hrs 20 mins.
2 medium red beets, scrubbed
1 garlic clove, finely grated
⅓ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
¼ cup prunes, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and Kosher salt
¾cup store-bought pickled beets, finely chopped
8 hard-boiled large eggs
1small golden beet, peeled, halved, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 375°. Wrap red beets in foil and roast directly on the rack until a knife slides easily through the center, 1½–2 hours; let cool. Rub off skins with a paper towel; coarsely chop.
Pulse chopped red beets, garlic, Parsley Mayo, walnuts, prunes, and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth; season with salt. Stir in pickled beets. Place in a disposable pastry bag or resealable plastic bag.
Halve eggs lengthwise; remove yolks. Cut a ¾” opening in tip of pastry bag. Pipe filling into eggs, mounding slightly. Top each with a golden beet slice.
DO AHEAD: Beet filling can be made 1 day ahead. Chill in pastry bag.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively, Drink responsibly
Happy New Year!