Monday, December 21, 2015

Seven Fish Dishes: Caviar and Blini

Welcome back for this year's rendition of our Seven Fish Dishes celebration! 

First on the docket for our menu of Seven Fish Dishes is an unusual one:

Caviar with tender little pancakes called blini (or blintchik or blintchiki) -- Russian names for crepes. These are best-known in the Soviet Union served just before Lent...but we like them year-round.

You can serve these with all sorts of sauces and flavorings -- but this year, I'm making use of a jar of black caviar I bought during a recent trip to Mexico. It adds a gentle-but-spicy note to the creamy sour cream and the whole-grain of the blini. But unless you're lavish, or a bazillionaire, only add a few eggs to each little pancake. (Those fish eggs are expensive.)

After all...

And if you need that in context:

Here's the recipe:


  • 2 cups warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour    (or whole wheat)
  • 4 eggs, beaten

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Pour warm milk into a large bowl, then sprinkle yeast onto the milk, and allow to soften for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and buckwheat flour; cover, and let rise for 1 hour.
  2. Stir in the eggs, sour cream, heavy cream, salt, and flour until a batter forms. Cover again, and let rise for 2 hours.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray, then pour in small amounts of batter to form 1 1/2-inch blinis. Cook until the blinis begin to set and dry, and the bubbles begin to burst, about 2 minutes. Flip over, and continue cooking until browned on the other side, about 1 minute.

Makes about ten blini, depending on how big you make them. (I'll be making these ahead of time and storing them in the refrigerator, with wax paper between each. Warm in an oven before proceeding. They freeze well, too.)

To serve: dollop each baby pancake with sour cream, then a scant half-teaspoon of caviar. (Or substitute smoked salmon, if you want to continue the 'fishy' theme.) Arrange on a platter, and serve with style! (Blini can also be served with jam and various sauces, like the photo below. They're good that way, too.)

You'll find the version here -- with more photos and reviews.

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