Winter blinis with smoked salmon creme fraiche and dill

Warm Potato Blinis with Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche and Dill

These have been adapted from the Russian version, so there are no special ingredients needed. Potato makes them lighter and has a wonderful affinity with smoked salmon.

Serves 6

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  • method
  • Ingredients

Method

Christmas Eve:

The blinis can be made a day ahead, to start cut the potatoes into chunks and put them into a steamer fitted over a pan of boiling water, sprinkle with a little salt, put a lid on and steam the potatoes until they are absolutely tender.

Next put the cooked potatoes into a largish bowl and use an electric whisk (or a fork) to mash them, then add the egg yolks to the milk and pour it over the mashed potato followed by the flour, nutmeg and seasoning and whisk the ingredients together to make a smooth, thick batter.

Now thoroughly clean and dry the beaters and whisk the egg whites in a scrupulously clean bowl until they form soft but not stiff peeks. Then carefully fold the egg whites into the batter about a third at a time.

Heat the frying pan over a medium heat then turn the heat down quite low. Put a little groundnut oil in the pan and use a wodge of kitchen paper towel to smear it round the pan.

Start by making one blini using a slightly rounded tablespoonful of the batter. Let it cook for 2 ½ minutes before carefully flipping it over with a palette knife or an egg slice and let it cook for a further 2 ½ minutes. The blini should be golden brown on either side, if it looks a little dark adjust the heat down a little.

Lift the blini onto a cooling rack. Then smear a little more oil in the pan and if your feeling ready you could try making 2 – 3 blinis at a time until you have 12.

Once the blinis are cold overlap them on a small baking tray then cover them with foil and store them in the fridge.

Christmas Day:

Now is the time to prepare the salmon, crème fraîche and dill. To do this pick 12 sprigs of dill and keep them on a piece of damp kitchen paper in a lidded container in the fridge. Then remove the stalks from the remaining dill, chop it and stir it into the crème fraîche. Finally cut the salmon into ribbons about 1cm by 6cm - you don't have to be too precise here.

To finish preparing your starter put 6 plates somewhere to warm up and preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Place the covered blinis in the preheated oven to warm for 10 minutes. Whilst the blinis are warming through divide the salmon into 6 portions. Then to finish place 2 blinis onto each warm plate, divide the salmon ribbons between the blinis then place a dessertspoon of the dill crème fraîche on top of the salmon, followed by the sprigs of dill.

Equipment

Your will need a steamer and a whisk, preferably electric, and a large frying pan.

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