I was VERY excited when the October recipe list for French Fridays with Dorie was announced. It is easily the most interesting group of recipes we have cooked yet, and not because I expect them all to be great, but because they are, without exception, recipes which I have never cooked before.
This week’s recipe, Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche fell wide outside my comfort zone for several reasons. First, I have only encountered blini & caviar a few times before in my life, generally served up on silver trays at schmancy cocktail parties. Second, I do not like dill or smoked salmon (or really smoky flavored products of any kind), and while I don’t dislike caviar, I generally don’t like it enough to justify the price tag.
I spent a bit of time early in the month trying to figure out how to incorporate this recipe into a meal before finally embracing the fact that blini require no accompaniment except for a glass of something bubbly. And since I wasn’t really in the mood to throw a fancy cocktail party this week, we decided to treat ourselves to an elegant Sunday brunch. My rationalization is that the base ingredients here, pancakes & lox, while not often seen on the same plate, are hardly strangers at the breakfast table. So why not?
I made only one small substitution here, chives instead of dill. I thought about switching out the smoked salmon too, but my husband loves it and so rarely gets to enjoy it at home. As we were getting all of the ingredients ready to be assembled I tasted each of them separately: the caviar was good (so long as I didn’t think about the price), the smoked salmon was still yucky, and the blini were way too yeasty for my tastes. Not at all a good start to the meal.
But then, once assembled into a cute little bite sized package, it was actually, dare I say it, good! Somehow all of the flavors just melded together perfectly, even the salmon. Granted, I added a mini piece of salmon to each blini, but still, saying that I liked something with smoked ANYTHING is big for me. I must say that my husband and I felt quite elegant as we read our papers and enjoyed our blini and champagne.
Granted, this is not a recipe which I see us making again anytime soon, but I am happy that I stepped outside my comfort zone and gave it a try. And who knows, maybe some day in the future if we feel the need to throw a fancy party we’ll break this recipe out and wow our guests.