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Appetizers

Lemon herb blini with dill cream and smoked salmon

Lemon herb blini with dill cream and smoked salmon
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

According to Alice Waters in the "Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook," whenever legendary chef Jeremiah Tower made blini at Chez Panisse, he'd recount how his Russian uncle felt about butter. You had enough only when it ran down and dripped off ... Read more

Total time: 50 minutes | Makes about 10 blini

Dill cream

  • 1 (8-ounce) container crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably kosher, or to taste
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Step 1In a medium bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, lemon juice, shallots and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This makes a generous cup dill cream which will keep, covered and refrigerated, 2 to 3 days.

Lemon herb blini with dill cream and smoked salmon

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives
  • 2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaved Italian parsley
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • Smoked salmon, for garnish
  • Chopped chives, for garnish
  • Diced red onion, for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
  • Osetra or salmon caviar, if desired, for garnish

Step 1In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, lemon zest, thyme, chives and parsley. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and mix it with the milk and buttermilk. Add to the bowl of dry ingredients, mixing just until blended. Stir in the melted butter.

Step 2Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Lightly butter the surface and ladle over 1/4 cup of blini batter. When it is bubbled throughout and golden brown on the bottom, flip the blini over and cook until the other side is browned. (Keep warm in the oven under a cotton cloth until the entire batch is cooked.)

Step 3To serve, spread dill cream over each blini. Drape sliced salmon over and garnish with chopped chives, diced red onion, freshly ground black pepper and caviar, if using. Serve immediately.

Note: Recipe adapted from Lee Hefter, executive chef/managing partner for Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group.

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