This simple, yet elegant dish has it’s roots in Russia. Buckwheat blini, little tiny crepe like pancakes, are delicious with their earthy buckwheat flavor. They go wonderfully with a sour cream (or in our case a garlicky cashew based “sour cream”) and some caviar or smoked salmon.
We aren’t admitting how many we gobbled up last night. These make a beautiful appetizer for a party, but we made them all for ourselves (selfish pigs…. I know).
You can use the blini with a variety of toppings, but I will go ahead and give the recipe for the dairy free sour cream that I made in case any of you want to try it too.
We topped it with a beautiful Ivory Smoked Salmon. What is Ivory Salmon?
“The most succulent and flavorful of all salmon, Ivory salmon is a luminous white fleshed King salmon native to certain rivers of southeast Alaska and Canada. Most salmon get their typical red or pink color from carotene in the food they eat (crustaceans such as shrimp and krill), but white or Ivory Kings are genetically prediposed with an extra enzyme to process carotene rather than collect it. Ivory salmon tends to be milder, silkier than and more buttery in flavor than regular Kings. Ivory salmon are rare and difficult to find, but we believe they are worth the search and urge you to splurge should you encounter one at your local market. “ Source
The local man who makes this smoked salmon charges the same amount as for the regular smoked salmon, so I snatched it up. The cuts from the middle of the fish are more fatty and tender, so it’s more expensive. I choose a nice size piece from the tail, which is more meaty. It was about half the price.
While mentioning money, I will also mention this. Whenever I have a little extra shopping money, I try to buy some seafood. I notice that I feel better when we eat seafood and it is some of the healthiest food for you. In this case, I choose to buy smoked salmon and eat a smaller amount of fish. If I had bought fresh salmon, I could have gotten a little more fish for my money. But we truthfully probably enjoyed the smoked salmon more, so it was worth it for the pleasure factor. The blini are nutritious (and delicious!) and stretch out the salmon a lot. Plus, I like being able to introduce Elena to a variety of flavors. She loved both the buckwheat blini and the smoked salmon (didn’t like the cashew sour cream however!). Unfortunately, the package of smoked salmon did not have a weight on it, so I can’t tell you for sure how much smoked salmon to buy to make this, but I would guess it to be about a quarter of a pound?
Regardless, this was a delicious and special way to eat our fish!
Buckwheat Blini Makes around 40-50 small blini
Once again, I “soak” the flour overnight to make it more nutritious and digestible. Read about it here. I’ve based this recipe on the crepe recipe from Nourishing Traditions, with a few small changes.
1 cup of buckwheat flour
1 cup of whole wheat, spelt or kamut flour (for a gluten free option, replace with more buckwheat, rice, or your choice of whole grain gluten free flour)
1 1/2 cups coconut tonic (or you can use 2 cups of buttermilk, kefir or thinned yogurt)
1 1/2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (omit if using buttermilk, kefir or thinned yogurt)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
plenty of butter, ghee or coconut oil for cooking them up in
1-The night before, combine the flours with the coconut tonic and apple cider vinegar/lemon juice in a large bowl. Stir to combine and cover. Leave out on the countertop overnight (12-24 hours)
2-When ready to make, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk well.
3-Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on it. Melt enough coconut oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan (or your choice of oil/fat). Using a measuring cup, pour about a tablespoon of batter into the pan per pancake (I usually could fit about 6 pancakes in my pan). Cook until bubbly on the topside and lightly browned on the other and flip.
Cook until the other side is lightly browned and remove. Place on a sheet pan in a warm oven to keep warm while you finish the rest of them.
Re-oil the pan as needed and continue the process until you have cooked all of the batter into blini.
Garlicky Cashew Sour Cream with Cucumbers
1 cup of cashews
1/2 cup of warm water
1 large lemon
2 garlic cloves
1-Soak cashews in water for a few hours to soften them.
2-Drain the cashews and place in a food processor with the warm water. Process until creamy. Peel garlic and put through a garlic press. Add to the mixture, add about 1 teaspoon salt and the juice of one lemon. Pulse to combine.
3-Wash and peel cucumber. Slice very thinly. Scoop cashew cream into a bowl and stir in the cucumbers. Taste test and adjust flavorings (salt or lemon juice). It’s done!
To serve, dollop a little cashew cream on top of each blini and top that with a small piece of smoked salmon.