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Gary Danko’s Buckwheat Blini With Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche & Caviar

Gary Danko’s Buckwheat Blini With Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche & Caviar


Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm milk, about 98°
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 tablespoons cold heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup clarified butter or 2 tablespoons clarified butter + 2 tablespoons canola, rice bran or vegetable oil
  • ***
  • Garnishes:
  • Crème Fraîche
  • Smoked salmon or smoked sturgeon
  • Chives, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (Optional addition by TFD: also include a tiny amount of snipped fresh dill)
  • Caviar (optional)- for TFD, however, it is MANDATORY! Use trout roe or salmon roe if you can’t afford sustainably-raised beluga, osetra or sevruga sturgeon caviar


  1. For the batter: Sift the all-purpose flour and sugar into a small bowl. Add the yeast, then ½ cup of the warm milk; whisk until smooth.
  2. Combine the buckwheat flour and salt in a medium-size bowl. Add the egg yolk and remaining milk; whisk until smooth.
  3. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. After resting, pour the yeast mixture into the buckwheat mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until soft peaks form; scrape it onto the top of the batter. Add heavy cream to the now-empty egg white bowl and whip it to soft peaks; scrape it onto the egg white and gently fold everything together.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour or so. Letting it rest longer – 2 to 6 hours – in a slightly cool place develops more flavor and the blini will also cook up crisper. The batter can rest up to 24 hours – it will develop a slight sourdough flavor. If the kitchen is warm, refrigerate the batter overnight, then bring to room temperature.
  6. To cook: Pour clarified butter or butter/oil mixture into a small non-stick skillet, just enough to form a thin film. Drop about ½ tablespoon of batter into the hot fat and spread to about 1 ½-2 inches in diameter, if necessary.
  7. Cook until golden brown (about 10 seconds); turn and cook the other side until golden brown and done at the center, about another 10 seconds. Remove to a paper towel to drain briefly, then serve hot with a dollop of Crème Fraîche, smoked salmon or smoked sturgeon, and 2 chive pieces (or do it as TFD does, with the addition of a small amount of snipped fresh dill!). For something extra special, dab with caviar.
  8. Wine pairing: Sparkling wine or Champagne – especially a Brut Rosé will be a terrific accompaniment.

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