I love to celebrate New Year’s Eve with champagne and buckwheat blini with smoked salmon, gravlax, or caviar. This recipe for buckwheat blini requires a little more time to make due to the yeast in the batter; the yeasted batter creates blini that have a lighter texture and complex flavor. Traditionally, buckwheat blini are served with smoked salmon or caviar. I served the blini with a locally made Ocean Trout Gravlax from Snaggletooth and an American Sturgeon Caviar, both purchased at Eataly in Chicago. It is exciting to taste a variety of domestic and international smoked salmon, gravlax, caviar, and roe to pick your own favorites.
(adapted from Martha Stewart’s Hors D’oeuvres Handbook by Martha Stewart with Susan Spungen)
Makes 4 dozen
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (½ of a ¼ ounce package)
- ¾ cup warm water (105° to 110°F)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup buckwheat flour
- 1 extra large egg, separated
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional butter for cooking
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¾ warm milk (105° to 110°F)
- smoked salmon, gravlax, or caviar
- sour cream or crème fraîche
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Set the bowl aside in a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the yeast to proof until frothy.
Place the all-purpose flour in a large bowl. Slowly add the yeast to the flour and whisk until combined. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set the bowl aside in a warm place for 1 hour to rise.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolk, butter, salt, sugar, and milk together. Slowly whisk in the buckwheat flour. Add the buckwheat mixture to the large bowl with the yeast and flour mixture, using a spatula to combine thoroughly. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set the bowl aside in a warm place for 1 hour to rise again. The mixture should bubble and increase by approximately one half in size.
With a whisk, beat the egg white until stiff but not dry in a small bowl. Gently fold the egg white into the batter with a spatula taking care not to over mix.
Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Brush the pan with butter and add 1 tablespoon of batter per blini into the pan. Add as many blini to the frying pan as possible without crowding. Cook each blini for 45-60 seconds on the first side until the bottom is brown and the surface is covered in bubbles. Flip the blini and cook for an additional 30-45 seconds until the second side is brown. Continue to cook blini in the same manner until all of the remaining batter is used. Allow the blini to cool before placing on a platter. Once cool, place the blini on a platter and serve immediately with smoked salmon, gravlax, or caviar and accompaniments such as sour cream, crème fraîche, and capers. The blini can be made ahead and kept covered at room temperature for up to 3 hours.
*The batter can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight. Allow the batter to return to room temperature before cooking.