After our recent “mini bite” of American Sturgeon caviar from Catalina, we found ourselves with nearly 3 dozen leftover blinis. While the experience evoked a strong desire to rush out and procure some more caviar to go with the blinis that was not possible. As an alternative my wife came up with the idea a “vegetarian” caviar made from black (oil cured) and green olive tepanade. You may wonder, as I did, what the thought connection was here but she explained that she was building on the taste combination of blini, sour cream and saltiness that is characteristic of caviar and blinis. In the past, we have had "fake" or "vegetarian" caviar* which was not too bad so we decided to try it.
I simply chopped up a mixture of green and black oil cured olives after removing the stones. As we did with the caviar, we heated up the blini and let it cool a little to prevent the sour cream from melting. Then I layered the sour cream (creme fraiche would have been better. Home-made creme fraiche is for another post) and added the olives.
This turned out to be really good. If it is not exactly like real caviar it is at least reminiscent of it. The saltiness and flavor of the olives really goes well with the blini and sour cream. We tried this with sake and it went remarkably well.
*Many years ago, a company in Glendale, CA made vegetarian caviar (from seaweed, I think) and we got it a few times but the company went out of business. I have seen "vegetarian" caviar advertised on some caviar selling websites. It appears to be same or a very similar item. We may try this in the near future.