French Fridays with Dorie: Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche

This week flew by. I can’t believe it’s already Friday again. It seems like I haven’t been writing any posts except when it’s time for French Fridays with Dorie. I’ll have to work on that…

This week’s recipe for the cooking group was Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche. This one could go in one of two directions: appetizer or brunch entrée.

I planned ahead and convinced my husband Howard to make gravlax. He’s been doing it for years and it always comes out perfectly. We bought half of a wild Alaskan salmon, ate some for dinner, and he cured the rest. A few days later the salmon was ready. I had the best of intentions of making my own crème fraîche, but my forethought didn’t extend to myself. Typical.

The blini are made from a yeasted buckwheat batter. It needs to sit for at least 60 to 90 minutes to get the rising action going. Since I chose to try this for brunch, I made the batter the night before, letting it sit out for 90 minutes at room temperature, then stashed it in the refrigerator for the night. I was a little worried because my foil packet of yeast didn’t quite measure the 2 teaspoons called for in the recipe, but I had major bubble action, so it was fine.

In the morning, we made lots of little pancakes. Each pancake was dolloped with crème fraîche, topped with a slice of gravlax, and sprinkled with some dill. (I forgot to look for salmon roe, which would have been a nice addition.) They made a lovely presentation.

We thought the blini would make a better appetizer than brunch. First of all, it felt more natural to eat with your fingers than a fork, which seems more like an appetizer. Then, to fill up, you would need to eat a lot of blini, so again, it seemed like a better appetizer. Finally, I think the earthy, tangy taste of the blinis themselves were such a contrast to buttermilk breakfast pancakes that they suffered by the comparison. They would have shined as an appetizer. Conclusion: I liked this dish, but served it for the wrong meal.

I’m also excited to be able to experiment with the rest of the bag of buckwheat flour. I found a nice selection of recipes to try on Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks blog. The figgy buckwheat scones look especially appealing. This link will give my search results.

For the cooking group, we don’t publish the recipes. For that, you’ll need to check out Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. You won’t be sorry. What did the other FFwD bloggers think of the blini? You can see their links here and find out for yourself.

Next week, something I’ve wanted to try for a long time: Pissaladière!

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Posted on 14 October 2011, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. We did these for Sunday brunch and really enjoyed them. Much fancier than our typical Sunday breakfast, but fun to try.

    As for your leftover buckwheat flour, buckwheat crepes with some sort of savory filling are a favorite of mine.

  2. I agree that the blini are to small for lunch, but are great as an appetizer. Love them too.

  3. Oh, I so wanted to make these on a griddle! Yours look delicious.

  4. ooh love your idea of using buckwheat for scones! I make scones on a weekly basis, no kidding… but then not to would seem a travesty since I am living in England at the moment…. :) Your blinis look great! We just had leftover blini pancakes for breakfast! Just made them pancake sized and then spread out the bits of salmon all over, put on as much creme fraiche as we liked, sprinkled the dill on top then viola! breakfast! :)

  5. I really enjoyed them, too. Great idea, hunting down Heidi’s figgy scones.

  6. I have to smile – I also thought that we would need to have a lot of blini to fill up. I was also a buckwheat newbie and will look into the savory crepes idea. Glad you enjoyed them, despite your realization that they would make better appetizers.

  7. Oooh! THanks for the heads up regarding buckwheat recipes on 101 Cookbooks. I was wondering what I’d do with the rest of the bag of flour. Glad you enjoyed these.

  8. Betsy, I printed Heidi’s Figgy Scones last year and haven’t made them yet…you have inspired me! Your blinis look perfect and I love that your husband made the gravlax.

  9. I love using a griddle to make pancakes – they always seem to come out perfect.
    Deifintely try the figgy buckwheat scones. I have made these several times & always love them (the fig butter is so worth the effort & the extra is great on toast – I have made it with dates as well). Kim Boice’s Good to the Grain has some really lovely recipes using alternative flours – you may want to give it a look over sometime.
    Have a great weekend.

  10. How neat that Howard made gravlax. I bet it was delicious. I have never tried buckwheat flour before and I am sorry that I didn’t get these made this week. It has been one of those weeks…I enjoy making scones and have been seeing figs in the stores so will have to check out Heidi’s recipe. I hope you have a lovely weekend, Betsy.

  11. I love that you made the gravlax. People in this group are so adventurous! I also really enjoyed the earthy taste of the buckwheat.

  12. mmm. homemade gravlax. that, I can get behind.

  13. Wow, talented hubby who makes gravlax – love it! I will have to check out 101 Cookbooks because I too have a very expensive bag of buckwheat flour to use up.

  14. Oh, you lucky girl! Homemade gravlax? What a treat!!!

  15. I’m so impressed you used homemade gravlax! Thank you for sharing your search results for buckwheat recipes; I too am looking for ways to use up the rest of the bag.

  16. So lucky to have a gravlax-making husband! I really loved these little pancakes. And thanks for the reminder about 101 Cookbooks; it’s been a while since I’ve used her first cookbook or checked out her site.

  17. Homemade gravlax sounds incredible, lucky you! I’ve been wanting to try Heidi Swanson’s figgy buckwheat scones for a while now too. Thanks for the reminder! I hope you enjoy them

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