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Warm Yukon Gold Blinis with Crème Fraîche and Salmon Caviar-Day 10 of the 12 Days of Canapés – 2010

Let’s pull out all the stops and do a west coast version of blinis and caviar! These are always a hit at parties and seem very elegant and impressive yet are surprisingly straightforward to make. Have you ever made pancakes? Then you can certainly make these little gems.

We are going to start with the great Canadian potato, the Yukon Gold. These yellow fleshed potatoes are prized for their sweetness, creamy texture and beautiful yellow colour. They are the base of a batter which is rounded out with some flour, eggs, crème fraîche, milk and of course salt and pepper. A quick spell in a non-stick pan (2 minutes on one side and an additional minute on the other) and these emerge golden on the outside and creamy on the inside.

I have chosen to serve these blinis with just a dollop of crème fraîche (or sour cream), a bit of salmon roe and a clean tasting Italian parsley sprig.  You could really go all out and add other traditional caviar garnishes such as capers, chopped hard boiled eggs and finely diced red onion or shallot.

Perfect for New Year’s Eve!

Warm Yukon Gold Blinis with Salmon “Caviar” and Crème Fraîche
Just like making pancakes the first blini is a bit of a throwaway, so use it as your learning curve to determine the correct heat level for your pan.  No butter is needed to cook the blinis as long as you use a good quality non-stick pan. You can, of course, use sour cream in place of the crème fraîche.

For the blinis:
1 lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes, skins on
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon crème fraîche
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 to 2 tablespoons of milk
Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

For the garnish:
2 ounces of salmon roe (also called Ikura)
1/4 cup crème fraîche
Parsley leaves for garnish (optional)

To make the blinis:
Place the un-peeled potatoes in a medium pot with enough salted water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked. Drain the potatoes and when they are still warm (but cool enough to handle) peel the potatoes and press them through a fine mesh sieve or a potato ricer. Place the potatoes into a medium bowl and quickly work in the flour with a fork and then add it the crème fraîche and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the egg yolk and mixing well after each egg is added. Season well with salt and white pepper

At this stage the batter should resemble a somewhat thick pancake batter. If is is really thick then add in 1  to 2 tablespoons of milk to achieve the right consistency.

Preheat a nonstick pan over medium heat and allow it to heat up thoroughly. Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the batter into the hot pan and allow to cook for approximately 2 minutes and the bottom is golden brown. Flip the blini and allow to cook on the other side for an additional minute.

Remove to a small sheet pan and keep warm is a 200 degree oven while you cook the remaining blinis.

To serve:
Place the blinis on a serving platter and place a dollop (or a small quenelle if you are feeling super fancy) of crème fraîche in the centre of the blini. Place another small dollop of the salmon roe on top and garnish with a sprig of parsley.

Makes 40 canapés.

Recipe adapted from the Lumière Cookbook.
Printable recipe