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Lemon Blinis with Caviar and Scallion Crème Fraiche

Makes12 small blinis
  • Active time: 15 min
    Total time: 15 min
Nothing says CELEBRATION like blinis and caviar. These quick, buckwheat pancakes, made with baking powder (unlike the traditional yeast-based ones) are brightened with the addition of lemon zest. Use whatever caviar you prefer and your budget will allow. We are quite enamored of the trout caviar made in North Carolina (see Cooks’ Notes). The roe is a beautiful pale orange with a delightfully firm texture that pops in your mouth. Better yet, it’s much more affordable than imported or domestic sturgeon caviars (see Cooks’ Notes).
Published in Gourmet Live 02.09.11

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons very thinly sliced scallions, divided
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, divided
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 ounces caviar, such as trout caviar or salmon roe (see Cooks’ Notes)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Stir together crème fraiche and 1 tablespoon of the scallions.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large non-stick skillet over low heat and scrap into a small bowl. Whisk in milk, egg, and 1 teaspoon zest. Add flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt and whisk until smooth.
  • Melt half of remaining butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Drop 6 rounded teaspoons of batter into skillet and cook until tiny bubbles form on the surface, edges appear dry, and undersides are golden, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Flip and cook until golden and cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Melt remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter in skillet and make 6 more blinis (you will have a little batter left over).
  • To serve, top blinis with a small dollop of scallion crème fraiche and some caviar, then sprinkle with remaining lemon zest and scallion.

COOKS’ NOTES:

  • Blinis can be made up to 3 days ahead and chilled wrapped well in foil. Reheat in foil in a 350°F oven until warm, about 10 minutes.
  • Leftover blini batter can be chilled, covered, at least 2 days and used for more blinis or a single serving of morning pancakes.
  • If you’re short on time, buckwheat pancake mix is a good option for the blinis. Just follow package instructions and add fresh lemon zest to the batter.
  • We love the Sunburst Trout Caviar from North Carolina. A 2-ounce jar costs 24.99 before shipping (sunbursttrout.com).
  • Salmon roe is available at fish markets and in jars in supermarkets.
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