Friday, December 19 ,2014

Buckwheat Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Preserved Lemon Creme Fraiche


I love the malty taste of buckwheat. Buckwheat pancakes slathered in maple syrup are a weekend favorite for Vince and me.  On New Year’s Eve, we make buckwheat blinis with caviar and sour cream. Blinis are little savory pancakes – baked or pan-fried – made from many grains including wheat, millet, oats and buckwheat. My gluten issues make buckwheat my grain free “go-to” but since I love the flavor, it’s not a sacrifice.

Blinis make wonderful bases for all kinds of toppings though caviar is the most traditional. Picture a tiny medallion slathered with sour cream or creme fraiche, then piled high with chopped egg, minced onion, and caviar. Don’t limit yourself to the traditional.  There are lots of fun combinations from sweet onion jam to softly scrambled eggs with chives to smoked fish. They always make an elegant presentation.

Smoked salmon, lox and gravlox are all naturals as blini tops.  Adding sour cream or creme fraiche adds moisture and creamy lusciousness. Herbs and lemon are often added to the cream to add brightness and acidity.  I’ve been a little obsessed with preserved lemons lately so I though it might be fun to add a new twist to a classic preparation.

I’ve come up with a Buckwheat Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Preserved Lemon Creme Fraiche. I added some smoked salmon caviar because I thought it was pretty but you can garnish the dish with any number of items from fresh herbs like dill, chives or thyme to fresh lemon zest. Be creative but most importantly – have fun!bliniV

Buckwheat Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Preserved Lemon Creme Fraiche

Makes about 20 pieces

1 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 egg, separated

3/4 cup milk

high cooking oil or ghee

1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon rind, rinsed and patted dry

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or more to taste

6 ounces smoked salmon lox

fresh herbs (dill, chives or thyme) and/or curls of lemon zest for garnish

salmon caviar for garnish, optional

Sift buckwheat flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  Beat the egg yolk and milk together in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Pour the mixture into the well. Stir until the mixture becomes a smooth batter. Beat the egg white until it holds soft peaks. Gently fold the beaten egg white into the batter.  Set aside

Preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium heat.  (I use a little sliver dollar pancake cast iron pan. It helps to keep the blinis a consistent size and shape.) Brush the skillet with oil. Working in batches, drop heaping teaspoons of batter onto the hot pan. Cook until bubbles form on the surface (like cooking pancakes) and the underside is golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Gently flip the blinis over and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.  Brush the skillet with oil again and start another batch.  Cool blinis before topping. (Note: You can make the blinis up to 2 days ahead of time. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Crisp in a preheated oven at 400F for about 3 minutes to refresh them.)

While the blinis are cooling, combine the creme fraiche, preserved lemon, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl.  Mix well and taste for additional salt. Set aside.

Top the cooled blinis with a small piece of smoked salmon, a dollop of preserved lemon creme fraiche and your choice of suggested garnish and serve.  You can top the blinis up to 45 minutes before serving.






One response to “Buckwheat Blinis with Smoked Salmon and Preserved Lemon Creme Fraiche”

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