Makes about 3 dozen small blini
Blini are an elegant way to begin a meal. They're light, creamy, and refined, and they're a wonderful vehicle for garnishes, so we serve them six or seven different ways, treating them, in effect, like a luxurious potato. The blini almost dissolve on your tongue, leaving the flavors of the garnishes.
One way we serve them is with roasted peppers and eggplant caviar. Another is with bottarga, a bright tasty garnish, especially when paired with the rich, buttery tomato confit. But blini are great even with just a little fresh butter. Although we make them small, there's no reason you can't make them larger.
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 to 3 tablespoons crème fraîche, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes for these blini because they absorb more cream than other potatoes and thus result in the best possible texture. This recipe will make extra batter, but it's a difficult recipe to reduce. The batter is best when used immediately, but it can be made up to two hours ahead if stored in a warm place (the cream may clot if it gets too cold). Use a scale to weigh the proper amount of potatoes after puréeing them, and make the batter while the potatoes are still warm or the blini will not have the correct texture.
Place the potatoes in a saucepan with cold water to cover by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked and tender.
Peel the warm potatoes and press them through a tamis. Immediately weigh out 9 ounces of puréed potatoes and place them in a medium metal bowl. Working quickly, whisk the flour into the warm potatoes, then whisk in 2 tablespoons crème fraîche. Add 1 egg, whisking until the batter is smooth, add the second egg, and then add the yolk.
Hold the whisk with some of the batter over the bowl. The batter should fall in a thick stream but hold its shape when it hits the batter in the bowl. If it is too thick, add a little more ore me fraîche. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
Heat an electric griddle to 350 degrees F. Note, if you do not have a griddle, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Spoon between 1 and 1-1/2 teaspoons of batter onto the griddle or skillet for each pancake. Cook until the bottoms are browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Then flip them to cook the second side, about 1 minute. The blini should be evenly browned with a small ring of white around the edges. Transfer the blini to a small baking sheet and keep warm while you make the remaining blini, wiping the skillet with a paper towel between batches. Serve the blini as soon as possible.
The French Laundry Cookbook
By Thomas Keller
With Susie Heller and Michael Ruhlman
Photographs by Deborah Jones
Artisan, November, 1999
150 recipes, more than 200 color photographs
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created January 2000
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