Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Smoked Salmon Blinis

      This little canape is one of those go-to classics in my repertoire that I often rely on when I need a known crowd pleaser for a cocktail party. The weather has been bright and sunny lately, and this canape is perfect for the season because it is so light and fresh. 

         There are many different variations on the classic blini, which is basically just a savory pancake. Some recipes call for yeast, but here I just use baking soda as my leavening agent. Using yeast adds an interesting earthy flavour to the blinis, but using baking soda is just plain easier. 

   Many recipes that you will find for blinis call for potatoes, which you can easily work into this recipe. Simply boil the potatoes until a knife easily runs through them and then either mash them while they are hot for a smooth result or let them cool and then grate them for a more chunky texture. Either way, you don't need to alter the blini batter in this recipe. Just mix the potatoes into the batter and fry normally. Like in yeast leaven blinis, the potatoes add a nice earthy note, but I chose to leave them out of this recipe to keep things light. 

      Any good quality smoked salmon works fine for this recipe, but if you're feeling ambitious, I really recommend that you try my recipe for homemade smoked salmon. Spring is the perfect time to try out making your own smoked salmon, because it's important that the salmon stays cold while you smoke it. A cool spring or early summer evening is the perfect time to get those wood chips smoldering.  

Prep time: 15 minutes + 10 minutes rest time. Cook time: 10 minutes. Makes 24 canapes.


350g smoked salmon
3 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 pinches salt
3 tablespoons butter

1. To make the dill sour cream, mix together the sour cream, dill & lemon juice with a pinch of salt. Let rest in the fridge while you make the blinis, to allow the flavours to marry.

2. To make the blini batter: in a mixing bowl, stir the baking soda into the flour along with a pinch of salt. Make a well in the flour and add the two eggs. Use a fork to beat the eggs and then incorporate into the flour. Add the milk and stir all the ingredients together without overworking the batter. It is ok if it the batter is a bit lumpy - overworking the batter will make the blinis tough & chewy. Stir in 2 tablespoons fresh chives and set aside for 10 minutes in a cool place to allow the baking soda to activate.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Spoon the batter into the pan - about 1 heaping tablespoon for each blinis. Cook until nicely browned on one side, about 3 minutes and then flip and brown the other side, about 2 minutes more. Fry the blinis in batches and keep in a warm place until you have made 24.

4. Top each blini with a small slice of smoked salmon, a dollop of dill sour cream and garnish with fresh chives. Serve at room temperature.