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Behind the Wine Dinner

Chef's Corner

Photos by Taryn Emerick

The Club hosted a five-course wine dinner in Polaris featuring wines and fare from classic regions of France such as Champagne, Loire Valley, Burgundy, Rhone Valley and Bordeaux. Guests enjoyed traditional dishes, such as rabbit, lamb and sweetbreads, with a modern twist. In hopes of inspiring your own dinner party, on the following page Executirve Chef Justin Sledge shares the recipe for the amuse bouche, which was a Buckwheat Blini with Dill Crème Fraiche and Caviar. While it sounds fancy, it’s approachable for culinary enthusiasts of all levels and is a real crowd-pleaser.

 

Buckwheat Blini with Dill Creme Fraiche and Caviar

Blini

  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ cups of warm milk (108-110 degrees)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup melted, unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs, separated

Dill Crème Fraiche

  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche
  • ½ bunch fresh dill
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 ounces smoked steelhead roe (or caviar of choice)

Procedure

In a large bowl, mix the yeast in with the warm milk, stirring until dissolved. Set aside and let the yeast mixture bloom for 10 minutes. In a separate large bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, buckwheat flour, salt and sugar together. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture, melted butter and egg yolks (reserve the whites), and whisk until smooth.  Cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm place for an hour and a half.

Just before you are ready to cook the blini, beat the egg whites until stiff, and then fold them into the batter.  Place a griddle or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and brush it with a little melted butter. Pour one tablespoon of the batter into the pan to make pancakes about three inches in diameter. Cook for about 30 seconds, then flip with a spatula and cook another 30 seconds.  Stack the blini on a platter and wrap them in a cloth napkin to keep them warm. Finely chop the dill and add to the crème fraiche with the other ingredients. Top the warm blinis with the dill crème fraiche and then a small amount of roe or caviar. 

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