Through the wonders of Instagram, I’ve been able to keep up during the pandemic with my culinary friends’ romantic evenings. Specifically, what they eat on romantic evenings (we’ll leave the rest to the imagination).
One snack pops up over and over again: potato chips, crème fraîche, and caviar. My friend Simone Reggie, a brand ambassador for the McIlhenny Company, makers of Tabasco, even served them at her wedding reception when she married sports management expert Chris LeBlanc.
It’s a dream combination of crunchy, creamy, and savory. Purists insist on certain ingredients: the chips must be smooth (not ruffled), with a generous base surface area—either Zapp’s or Pringles will do for Simone.
Everyone I’ve seen make these snacks uses black caviar, not red, with smaller sized eggs, since the big ones might roll off the chip. Sour cream can be substituted for crème fraîche, but since you can get the latter at Trader Joe’s, it’s best to aim for the real thing.
The stacking is uniform: Take a potato chip, add a small spoonful of crème fraîche, then a dollop of caviar. It should look like one of those dipped Italian cookies with chocolate on the end. You’re encouraged to be gluttonous and pop the entire concoction into your mouth at once; delicate nibbles risk splattering the ingredients everywhere.
A few variations are out there. The New York Times advocates for salmon roe rather than classic black eggs, and also suggests adding lemon zest to the crème fraîche. Antonia Lofaso of the Food Network suggests amping things up with homemade chips, but you will run into an issue of variability, since potatoes are not uniform and symmetrical.
No matter how you make them, these potato chips and caviar stacks are best constructed one at a time, and on a romantic occasion such as Valentine’s Day, they’re a perfect snack for feeding to someone. Or just make them for yourself. It’s the ultimate in salty self-care.