A little salty and a little sweet, smoked salmon and blinis are tried and true combo, a simple but intriguing pairing of foods rooted in Slavic culinary traditions. Whether you’re enjoying smoked salmon blinis as an appetizer, snack or light meal, they’re a quick and easy dish that you can make at home in under 20 minutes.
This smoked salmon blinis recipe is made with buckwheat flour for a nutty complement to the intense flavor of cold-smoked salmon.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes, depending on size of pan
Yield: 4 servings as light meal, 8 as an appetizer
½ cup buckwheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk, plus more to thin batter
4 tbsp melted butter
Butter or neutral oil, for cooking
8-ounce package of smoked wild sockeye salmon
Crème fraiche or sour cream, for serving
Using a 50-50 mix of buckwheat flour and all-purpose flour makes a perfectly balanced batter that’s nutty and chewy, without being too intensely bitter or earthy. If you don’t have buckwheat flour, you can substitute whole wheat flour; it won’t give you the same flavor at all, but it’s a bit closer in texture than using all white flour. If all else fails though, there’s nothing wrong with using all white flour to make your smoked salmon blinis; you’ll still end up making something that you can dress up with salmon and cream.
Traditionally, blinis are made with yeast. But for quick and easy blinis, baking powder is the agent that will help your blinis to rise in no time.
Salt and sugar round out of the flavor of your blini batter so that they taste good even without the addition of smoked salmon.
The wet ingredients are pretty standard here: egg and enough milk to make a pourable batter. The addition of melted butter to this makes for a particularly rich blini batter. Make sure you have some extra butter or neutral oil on hand to cook your blinis.
An 8-ounce package of smoked wild sockeye salmon along with a tub of sour cream or crème fraiche
Combine all-purpose and buckwheat flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, melted butter, and milk. Then, add dry mixture to wet mixture, stirring until just combined; as with most batters, overmixing will produce a dense end product. You want your blinis to be as fluffy as possible, so don’t overmix!
Depending on how precise your measurements were with the flour, you may need to add more milk here to thin the batter out a bit. It should be just pourable— thin enough that it can flatten out and spread when you spoon it onto a pan. Set aside and allow the batter to rest for a minute.
Meanwhile, heat up a flat griddle, large skillet, or cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add a small amount of butter or oil to the pan — basically just enough to leave a thin coat of fat on the surface. You can wipe out any excess fat with a paper towel or piece of bread.
Once the pan is hot, spoon tablespoons or so of batter around the pan to form small blinis. They can be the size of silver dollars, or the size of cookies if you want something a little bigger. Make sure you give the batter enough room to settle into the pan, just as you would do if you were making pancakes.
Let the blinis cook for a minute or two per side, until they become browned around the edges. Transfer finished blinis to the platter in the oven where they’ll stay warm as you make another few batches of them on the stovetop.
In between batches, you may need to re-grease your pan with extra oil or butter. Again, wipe up any excess fat so that you don’t end up with fried blinis.
Once everything has cooked, serve and enjoy immediately alongside a platter of smoked wild sockeye, with plenty of crème fraiche or sour cream to dollop onto your smoked salmon blinis.