Tested and Perfected by Food and Wine

Basil Blini with Salmon Caviar

  • SERVINGS: MAKES ABOUT 5 DOZEN
  • MAKE-AHEAD

Serve these herbed blini topped with a combination of crème fraîche and salmon caviar, or with a little dollop of the pesto that flavors them. You can substitute about eight ounces of store-bought pesto for the homemade version.

  1. 3/4 cup milk
  2. 2 large eggs, separated
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. Basil Pesto
  5. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  6. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  7. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
  9. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  10. 1/4 cup crème fraîche (optional)
  11. 3 ounces salmon caviar (optional)
  1. In a blender, combine the milk with the egg yolks, salt and 1/4 cup of the Basil Pesto. Blend at high speed until combined, about 15 seconds.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour with the baking powder and baking soda. Whisk in the milk mixture until smooth, and then add the 1 tablespoon of melted butter and the lemon juice.
  3. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter just until no streaks remain.
  4. Set a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat and brush lightly with melted butter. Drop slightly heaping teaspoons of batter into the skillet and cook until golden on the bottom and just set on top, about 2 minutes. Flip the blini to brown the bottoms, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer the blini to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Repeat with the remaining batter, lightly buttering the skillet as needed.
  5. Arrange the blini on a large platter. Spoon a small dollop of crème fraîche and a little salmon caviar on each blini; alternatively, dollop a little of the remaining pesto onto each blini.
Make Ahead The blini can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat them, covered, on a large baking sheet, in a 325° oven.