Note: this recipe was part of a book I wrote called Eat Like A Maisel.
Yield: 20 blini
I love potato blini. Everything about them. They look cute. Even the name itself is cute. Blini. It sounds like a sidekick in a Pixar movie, doesn’t it? Make a bunch of them, and they’ll be your little minions. They even kind of look similar.
They’re like little clouds on which you can layer different flavors. But whatever you top it with, make sure it’s flavorful. A common topper is caviar. Tiny, crunch, salty. I think that’s what caviar tastes like. I don’t know, I’m not a Russian oil tycoon.
Here we top it with gravlax and deep-fried capers for a rich and salty crunch combo.
These will taste very plain on their own, severely lacking in salt. If you find yourself cursing my name, just take a deep breath and remind yourself, “These are supposed to be topped with something salty, like gravlax.”
You could easily top these with roasted red peppers for a vegetarian version. Or caramelized onions. Ohh, man, I’m getting hungry again.
1 pound (450 g) Yukon Gold potatoes
4 tablespoons (56 g) butter + more as needed
2 tablespoon (25 g) crème fraîche
2 tablespoons (20 g) flour
Maldon sea salt, as needed
Put potatoes in large pot and cover with at least 1 inch of cold water. Turn the heat to high. Once it comes to a gentle simmer, adjust heat to maintain just a gentle simmer. You don’t want a full boil, as it could damage the outsides of the potatoes. (If the outsides get damaged, the potatoes will begin to absorb water, which means they won’t absorb as much fat later!)
Cook until you can easily pierce the largest potato with a knife. It should slide in smoothly. You shouldn’t feel any starchy resistance once they’re fully cooked, about 30 minutes. If they’re larger, they could take as long as 40 to 50 minutes or longer. Keep that knife handy and, after 20 minutes of simmering, test every 10 minutes.
Drain in a large sieve (or your tamis!) or remove the potatoes from the water with a spider, skimmer, or whatever.
As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them with your fingers.
Meanwhile, put 4 tablespoons of butter and the crème fraîche into a large mixing bowl.
Put the potatoes through a ricer, food mill, or my favorite, a tamis. You can process the potatoes directly into the bowl. If you feel more comfortable handling the tamis, you can place a sheet of parchment paper directly on your countertop and process the potatoes through the tamis right onto that sheet.
If you didn’t process the potatoes directly into the bowl, add them to the bowl with 4 tablespoons of butter and the crème fraîche. Use a wooden spoon and mix to incorporate.
Add the eggs one at a time and stir to incorporate. You’re going for the texture of pancake batter. Add some of the flour to thicken if necessary.
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Add a small pat of butter to the pan and swirl the pan to coat. Spoon flatware teaspoon-sized dollops of batter into the pan and cook until browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Flip the blini and cook for until browned on the other side.
Serve with gravlax, caviar, or just a small dab of crème fraîche and a pinch of Maldon sea salt.