A French picnic is never complete without the appearance of charcuterie. Jambon, saucisson, terrine and pâtés are usually sandwiched between or spread on ripped baguette. Pour yourself some sparkling (cheap but oh so good) wine in a plastic cup, sit by the river, and enjoy your porky baguette. Voilà, you’ve got yourself a typical French picnic! Oh but wait, I don’t eat pork. Oh not a problem. We non-pork eaters get the luxurious stuff: smoked salmon. Which is why blinis are also an essential part for a French picnic.. Well at least for me anyway.
I had smoked salmon in my fridge and was craving to eat it for breakfast. Problem was, I didn’t have any blini. I once found blinis in an uptown grocery store, the kind that targets bankers with ridiculous salary. $8 for a packet of 20 mini blinis. Yeah, right. Snort snort. I don’t know why but specialty breads like pita and the likes can be ridiculously expensive here in Singapore. Surely it can’t be THAT difficult to make my own blinis. Right? After all, blinis are a form of pancakes, and I’ve made pancakes dozens of times with my eyes closed. Right? Right?
Well.. Emm.. technically speaking, it’s a bit more complicated than that. You see people, real blinis are yeasted, which means that you have to give them time to rise. And you get to ever so delicately mix stiff egg whites into the mixture at the end, before popping them into the oven to bake. Err yeah sure, I can do that.. when I don’t have a 13 month-old screaming in the background demanding her breakfast NOW. So we will have to do with pancakes for now. The recipe I’m giving you is a recipe I adapted from Roy Finnamore’s Tasty. The original recipe was meant as a sweet breakfast fare, so I dropped the sugar level for this dish to make a more savoury pancake. It was simple, quick and extremely tasty with the duo salmon and salsa. And honestly, I didn’t miss the blini one bit.
Smoked Salmon Pancakes with Tomato Caper Salsa
FOR THE PANCAKES – Adapted from Roy Finnamore – Tasty (makes around 8 pancakes)
- 1 cup / 240 ml all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- a pinch of salt
- a pinch of sugar
- 1 cup / 240 ml buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tbsp / 21 gr melted unsalted butter
- vegetable oil
FOR THE TOPPING
- 8 tbsp sour cream
- 8 smoked salmon slices
- 1 cup (around 15) cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 spring onions, white and light green part only, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1 tbsp dill, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- freshly ground white pepper
- snippets of chives, for garnish
MAKE THE PANCAKES: In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Slowly pour in the melted butter and buttermilk. Mix well until the dough comes together.
Heat a little oil on a heavy bottomed pan over medium-low heat. When the pan is hot enough, spoon out 2 tablespoons of dough onto the pan and make a circle. Let cook until the edges have become slightly golden and bubbles start to appear on the top, around 2 minutes. Yes, go ahead and take a peek at the bottom side. Flip over and let cook the other side. You can probably do 3-4 pancakes at the same time. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Reserve and let cool slightly on a plate.
Now, MAKE THE SALSA. In a bowl, mix together olive oil and lemon juice until emulsified a bit. Add in tomatoes, spring onion, capers and dill. Mix well. Season with white pepper.
TO ASSEMBLE THE PANCAKES: Slather a pancake with 1 tablespoon of sour cream. Top the sour cream with a slice of smoked salmon and a heaping of tomato salsa. Garnish with snippets of fresh chives. Serve immediately.