Gluten-free buckwheat blinis? Heck yes! These classic fancy-pants hors-d’oeuvres have always been intrinsically gluten-free provided you use only buckwheat (despite its name, it’s GF) and don’t add in any gluten flours. They’re perfect for tray-passed appetizers, an appetizer tray, or an elegant first course and can be topped with anything and everything bite-size and delicious. Here we offer three versions: with salmon, marinated beets, and horseradish cream, with caviar and creme fraiche (the ultimate classic) and ham and bitter greens with marinated shallot.
- 6 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons buckwheat flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄8 rounded teaspoon kosher salt
- 3⁄4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3⁄4 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 egg separated
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, sugar, salt, and yeast.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm 1⁄4 cup of the milk and 1 tablespoon of the butter until the butter is melted. Transfer the warm milk mixture to a small mixing bowl and whisk in the remaining 1⁄2 cup milk.
Whisk the milk mixture into the flour mixture, cover the batter with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place until doubled in volume, approximately 1 1⁄2 hours.
Whisk the egg yolk into the batter. In a small bowl, beat the egg white to stiff peaks, then gently fold it into the batter.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Heat a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and lightly brush the skillet with a little of the melted butter. Using a teaspoon, drop the batter by the spoonful into the skillet about 11⁄2 inches apart. Cook until the bottoms are lightly browned, the edges begin to look dry, and the tops are dotted with holes, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip, cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer, and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining butter and batter.
Now, for toppings! Following are three delicious combos. Once you decide what you want to make, scroll to see the recipes for any topping that requires a little prep.
To make BUCKWHEAT BLINI WITH SMOKED SALMON, MARINATED BEETS, AND HORSERADISH CREAM: Top the blini with smoked salmon, horseradish cream, marinated beets, and fresh dill. (See horseradish cream and marinated beets recipes below.)
To make BUCKWHEAT BLINI WITH CAVIAR AND CRÈME FRAÎCHE: top the blini with a generous dollop of caviar or trout roe and garnish with creme fraiche and snipped chives.
To make CORNMEAL BLINI WITH HAM AND BITTER GREENS: For cornmeal blini, add 3 tablespoons GF AP your to the batter recipe and substitute cornmeal for the buckwheat flour. Top cooked blini with a little thinly sliced ham, some bitter greens, and marinated shallot. (See greens and shallot recipes below.)
Combine 6 tablespoons sour cream with 1 tablespoon prepared cream-style horseradish. Store, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days.
Dice 1 roasted, medium Chioggia or yellow beet into 1⁄8-inch cubes. Toss with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Season with kosher salt and let marinate for at least 10 minutes. Store, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days.
Boil 1 firmly packed cup dandelion greens or mustard greens in a pot of salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and cool the greens on a baking sheet. Squeeze out excess water, coarsely chop, and toss with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Store, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days.
In a small bowl, toss 1 large shallot, sliced paper-thin, with 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. Let macerate for at least 10 minutes.
Recipe: Niki Ford
Photography: Lauren Burke