The Perfect Spring Dish

April 16, 2016

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Salmon roe is one of Alaska’s great unsung products. Most of it is exported to Japan and Germany, which is a shame. Nothing tastes quite so elemental; eating this sparkling orange roe always reminds me that I’m glad to be alive.

One caveat: do not buy the pasteurized sort; heating roe changes the texture, making it tacky and tough. The flavor’s compromised too.  I buy mine from Zabar’s who will happily mail-order it  (although it’s about twice as expensive by mail as it is in the store).

To me these blini are best warm, so I make them one by one, so people can snatch them from the griddle while they’re still hot, slather them with sour cream and roe, and eat them with their fingers.  It’s hard to think of a better way to start a party.

Buckwheat Blini with Sour Cream and Salmon Roe

1 cup whole milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup buckwheat flour

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon yeast

2 eggs

Melt the butter with the milk and cool to lukewarm.

Meanwhile whisk together the flour, buckwheat flour, sugar, salt and yeast.

Whisk the milk mixture into the flour mixture, cover with plastic wrap or a plate, and set aside to rise for 1½ hours in a warm place. The mixture should foam and double in size.

Whisk in two eggs, blending well.

Gently butter a hot griddle or skillet, and pour out enough batter to make a crepe the size you prefer.  Tilt the pan to make the crepe thin, and cook until bubbles have appeared all over the surface and have begun to pop.  Flip and cook another minute or so. Repeat.

Slather the blin with sour cream and top with salmon roe.  Eat gratefully. 

The batter will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.  Stir well before using.

Another use for salmon roe? On scrambled eggs.  Perfect breakfast.

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