Appetizers
December 19, 2012
Find Sterling caviar at Raley's, make buckwheat blini

caviar.jpg More proof that local caviar is going mainstream: Raley's supermarkets - along with sister Bel Air and Nob Hill stores - are now offering Sacramento-grown Sterling Caviar.

During the holidays, the chain's meat departments will take orders for Sterling, ready for in-store pick up with three days notice. Get your Christmas and New Year's Eve orders in now.

It's only fitting; Sacramento is now America's Caviar Capital. (Read more at: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/19/5062625/sacramento-area-is-nations-caviar.html)

Traditionally, yeast-raised buckwheat blini - little Russian pancakes - are the perfect platform for caviar. (Blini is plural; one little pancake is a blin.)

Accompanied with a dab of creme fraiche or sour cream, blini and caviar pair deliciously with dry champagne or sparkling wine - ready to toast the holidays and New Year.

Buckwheat blini

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 cup warm milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 egg, separated

In a large bowl, mix all-purpose and buckwheat flours, salt and instant yeast. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in warm milk, mixing until smooth. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Melt butter and let cool. Stir the melted butter and egg yolk into batter. In a separate bowl, whisk egg white until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter. Cover and let stand 20 minutes.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. (Melt a little more butter in the skillet, if desired.) With a tablespoon, drop quarter-size dollops of batter into the pan without crowding. Cook for about 1 or 2 minutes or until bubbles form and break across the top of the batter. Turn and cook for another minute.

Remove blini from heat, cover and keep warm until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve with caviar and your choice of creme fraiche, sour cream, cream cheese, finely chopped egg, finely chopped red onion or chives.

Note: Blinis also can be made with just all-purpose flour or a blend of all-purpose and whole wheat flours; substitute equal amount for buckwheat.

Makes 24 blinis.

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