The leaves are changing, the sun is setting earlier, the air is crisp and clear, and apples fill the green markets. These seasonal changes also mark the time when Steve Stallard starts producing roe again. Steve is an artisan. No question about it. We have written about him before and he has also shared his own words on these pages. His commitment to excellence is not only contagious and inspiring, it is what makes cooking special.
We have been addicted to his Blis products for years now. The syrups and vinegars are usually available year round, until they sell out. The caviar season coincides with that of the fish and Steve's penchant for perfection. If the roe is not right there is no caviar for anyone. That is both a simple approach and one which can be financially crippling. Steve does not compromise. How often in life do we face two pathways? One passageway is wide and easy and the other is treacherous and much less traveled. Steve decisively chooses the harder road and we all benefit from his tough decision. The pristine roe he produces continues to be a catalyst for ideas and expressions of flavor, particularly in indulging my fetish for pairing ice cream with caviar. We just finished a dish combining wild brook trout roe with coconut-yuzu ice cream tablets, bitter tomato marmalade, and puffed coconut wild rice. The dish has been a work in progress, the key inspiration being the return of the roe. As the seasons continue to change so will the roe. I eagerly await the next batch, perhaps wild char in both natural and light smoke varieties. We shall just have to wait until we hear from Steve to find out what's next.