Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Salmon
- 4 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 3 Tbs. buckwheat flour
- 1 Tbs. minced fresh dill
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 C. good-quality beer, at room temperature
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
- 1 egg, separated
- 1/2 C. very thinly sliced red onion
- 3 to 4 oz. very thinly sliced good-quality smoked salmon
- 1/4 C. sour cream
- 1 Tbs. minced fresh dill, plus fresh dill sprigs for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. To make the blini, in a mixing bowl combine the all-purpose and buckwheat flours, 1 Tbs. dill, salt and pepper. Add the beer, melted butter and egg yolk and stir gently just until a batter forms. In another clean bowl, whisk the egg white, or beat it with a handheld electric mixer, until it forms stiff peaks when the whisk or beaters are lifted out. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg white into the batter just until incorporated.
Heat a heavy nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. With a 2-oz. ladle, pour the batter onto the skillet or griddle to form 2-to-3-inch pancakes, taking care not to overcrowd the cooking surface. Cook until their undersides are browned, 2 to 3 minutes. With a spatula, flip them over and cook until browned on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more.
Transfer the blini to a baking sheet large enough to hold them in a single layer and keep them warm in the oven while you cook any remaining batter. (You should have 12 to 16 blini in all.) To top the blini, arrange a thin layer of red onion on each one. Cut the smoked salmon into squares or rectangles that will fit the blini and place a piece on each one. Spoon a little sour cream on top and sprinkle with dill. Grind a little black pepper over the blini. Arrange the blini on a heated serving platter or individual serving plates and garnish with fresh dill sprigs. Serve with chilled champagne.
Yield: 4 servings
(Chef Wolfgang Puck's new TV series, "Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class," airs Sundays and Wednesdays on the Food Network. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY. 14207.)
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