A Mad Genius take on blini, the traditional Russian pancakes that go with caviar.

By Hannah Walhout
Updated June 05, 2017

This week in the Food & Wine test kitchen, it’s time to get classy. “This is a fancy Mad Genius Tip!” says Deputy Test Kitchen Editor Justin Chapple. (Hey, who says that cocktail popsicles and spiral hotdogs aren’t fancy?). The ritual of caviar service has certain customary touches—potato pancakes or blini to be specific. “And they’re so delicious,” says Justin, “but they’re actually kind of a hassle to make.”

The typical potato blini recipe is fun but fussy. But luckily, our Mad Genius is here with a blini hack from his friend Chef Jamie Bissonnette—who’s one half of the team behind tapas hotspot Toro, so he’s basically a finger food expert.

Justin says to start with some potato dinner rolls—any supermarket brand will do the trick—and flatten them out with your hands or a mini rolling pin. “You don’t want them completely flat,” says Justin, “because you still want them to have a little bit of air.” Next, use a small circular cookie cutter to cut out pancake rounds from the flattened rolls. Brush with dab of mayonnaise before placing them (mayo-side down) in a hot skillet—after a couple minutes on the stove, they’ll crisp up a bit to form a perfect, sturdy base for some sour cream and caviar.

Serving suggestions? Present with an array of other hors d’oeuvres, create a dinner menu of classic Russian dishes, or throw a caviar party with our favorite roe recipes.

For more kitchen hacks, check out the rest of Food & Wine’s Mad Genius Tips.