Dorie tops her buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, salmon roe, and sprigs of dill. I strayed again, and used smoked Alaskan Black Cod, a touch of horseradish in my crème fraîche, chives, and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice.
I should have made a half batch of the blini batter, since it was only the two of us, but I experimented with making rustic, free-form pancakes, versus using a cookie cutter to make them all perfectly round and uniform (there are also blini pans available, but that's one pan I've yet to cram into my cupboards). After going through half the batter, with a half dozen of each variety, I preferred the rustic look. I also liked plating the "second side" up, despite Dorie's opinion that it's not "as pretty." I think the lacy pattern and bubbles added to the rustic appeal.
We typically do not post actual FFwD recipes, but I discovered this one was previously published in Bon Appétit, and on Epicurious (however, the quantities are slightly different from those published in Around My French Table). The following recipe incorporates my modifications.
Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Alaskan Black Cod and Crème Fraîche
Adapted from Around My French Table
(Makes about blini, depending on size)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 package (1/4 ounce/7 grams) active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (4-ounce) package thinly sliced smoked black cod or trout (you'll need 8 oz. of smoked fish if you use all the batter)
Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl.
Place milk and butter in small saucepan. Stir over low heat until butter melts and thermometer registers 110°F (if mixture gets too warm, cool until temperature returns to 110°F).
Pour warm milk mixture into flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Whisk buckwheat batter to deflate; then whisk in eggs.
Preheat oven to 200°F. Heat griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with melted butter. Working in batches, spoon about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons batter for each blini onto griddle, spacing apart. Cook until bubbles form on top and begin to pop, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn blinis; cook until golden brown on bottom, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet. Tent with foil and place in oven to keep warm while cooking remaining blinis.
Combine crème fraîche and horseradish, to taste (I used 5:1 ratio crème fraîche to horseradish). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Arrange warm blinis on platter. Top with smoked fish. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon crème fraîche atop each. Garnish with chives. Serve with small lemon wedges.
Note: The blini batter can be prepared one day ahead. After mixing in eggs, transfer to large bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Before using, allow the batter to come to room temperature, and rewhisk. Cooked blinis can also be wrapped and refrigerated overnight (allow to cool first). Brush blinis lightly with melted butter and rewarm on baking sheet in 350°F oven 5 minutes.
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group, dedicated to Dorie Greenspan‘s newest book Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As members of the group, we have purchased the cookbook and cook along as much as we can. There is a new recipe each week, and we post about that recipe on Friday. We are asked to refrain from posting the actual recipes on our blog. The book is filled with stunning photography, and personal stories about each recipe, which makes it that much more intriguing. I highly recommend adding it to your cookbook collection if you haven't already!