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Appetizers, Vegetarian

Corn blini with shishito and Green Zebra tomato salsa

Corn blini with shishito and Green Zebra tomato salsa
Los Angeles Times

The first time I heard of shishito peppers, I was in New York standing on Sullivan Street waiting for a table at a sushi restaurant. Friends visiting from the West Coast who waited in line with me mentioned the Japanese ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes including rising time | Makes about 24 blini


  • 4 small firm Green Zebra tomatoes, cut in half (about 5 ounces)
  • 2 medium (3- to 4-inch) shishito peppers
  • 2 green onions, ends and tops trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Step 1Heat a well-seasoned stove-top grill pan over medium-high heat until hot. Brush the tomatoes, peppers and green onions with the olive oil. Grill the vegetables, turning them to brown all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Step 2Remove the vegetables from the pan and allow them to cool. Cut the tomatoes into small dice and place in a small bowl. Cut the tops off the peppers and chop; add to the bowl. Chop the green onions and add.

Step 3Stir in the garlic, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Let stand 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. (Makes 1 cup.)

Blini and assembly

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 package active dry yeast (1 1/8 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon creme fraiche, divided
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels, coarsely chopped
  • 2 egg whites, beaten until stiff
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter
  • Shishito and Green Zebra tomato salsa

Step 1Heat the milk to simmering. Remove it from the heat and stir in the sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm.

Step 2Sprinkle the yeast over warm water and stir until dissolved. Let the mixture stand until the yeast begins to bubble, then stir it into the milk mixture.

Step 3Combine the flour and cornmeal in a bowl. Add the yeast mixture and whisk until smooth. Cover and let stand 1 hour or until batter doubles in volume. (Prepare the salsa while the batter rises.)

Step 4Stir down the batter and beat in the egg yolk, butter, creme fraiche and corn. Fold in the egg whites just until mixed.

Step 5Brush a large nonstick skillet with the clarified butter and heat over medium heat until hot. For each blini, scoop out from the bottom of the bowl 1 scant tablespoon batter and spoon it into the skillet. Fry 3 or 4 blini at a time. Cook until golden and set, about 1 1/2 minutes, then turn and cook another 1 to 2 minutes until golden.

Step 6Remove the blini to a paper towel and continue to cook blini until all the batter has been used.

Step 7To serve, place four blini on each plate, spoon a generous teaspoon of shishito and Green Zebra tomato salsa onto each blini, then top each with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Note: Shishito peppers are available at Japanese markets and farmers markets. Green Zebra tomatoes are available at farmers markets. You may substitute any firm green tomato. Make the salsa while the blini batter rises.


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