My Citizens, your sagacious and inveterate leader – the indulgent TFD Himself! – is currently enjoying the glorious gustatory delights found only in Mother Russia, especially in its capital city of Moscow!
While here, I am making several celebratory recipe postings to honor my time and the culinary glory of Russian cuisine – and what, I ask you, is more quintessentially Russian than buckwheat blini, served lavishly with caviar, smoked salmon and smetana, the unmatched Russian sour cream?
Sadly, smetana of Russian quality isn’t available in the U.S., but all the other needed ingredients are and few chefs do this recipe better justice than renowned Chef Gary Danko of San Francisco. The City by the Bay is where I live when not plotting culinary revolution in several of my worldwide secret lairs! I have enjoyed many magnificent meals at his restaurant and hope that you too may someday know the glory of his cuisine!
Gary Danko is an American chef who combines French, Mediterranean, and American styles into his cooking. He is best known for his eponymous restaurant in San Francisco, California.
Diners select from three, four or five prix-fixe menu courses. Danko’s signature dishes include roast Maine lobster with white corn, tarragon and chanterelles, pancetta wrapped frog legs with garlic purée, and roasted quail stuffed with mushrooms and foie gras.
Most dishes are served year-round, but ingredients are adjusted seasonally to emphasize local produce. Before it was banned in California, in late spring 2012, Danko’s seared foie gras was paired with Bing cherries, but in early fall, with roast figs.
His accolades are many, both local and international:
1995 James Beard Foundation – Best Chef-California
1999 Esquire Magazine – Best New Restaurant
1999 Mobil Travel Guide – First “Five Star” rating
2000 James Beard Foundation – Best New Restaurant
2000 San Francisco Magazine – Chef of the Year
2002 James Beard Foundation Award – Nominated Outstanding Chef of the Year
2002 Relais & Chateaux – Relais & Chateaux property
2007 Zagat Survey – Top Restaurant
2008 Michelin Guide – One Star Rating
This recipe, adapted from Gary Danko, is the best blini recipe I’ve ever tried: it incorporates whipped egg whites and whipped cream, and has several resting periods – all of which helps give these blini a lighter, more delicate texture. You can make the batter in the morning or a day ahead since it needs two fairly lengthy resting periods. The blini themselves are best served right after cooking.
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