Herbed Pancakes with Cured Salmon and Crème Fraîche
These tiny partially whole-wheat pancakes make a perfect perch for a dollop of crème fraîche and a curl of smoked salmon. They are cooked on a salt block, imbuing them with a hint of salt that works quite well with the rest of the dish. This recipe, along with the Salted Pecan Turtles are from Jessica Harlan’s The Simple Art of Salt Block Cooking. The entire book is dedicated to cooking and baking with Himalayan salt blocks. If you aren’t familiar with this phenomenon, check out one of Bakepedia’s recipes as well.
Excerpted with permission from The Simple Art of Salt Block Cookingby Jessica Harlan. Published by Ulysses Press, 2015.
These savory pancakes are a nod to one of our favorite Russian-inspired appetizers, blini. They make an elegant appetizer for a party, but we could make a meal out of them with a green salad on the side. We like to keep tubes of dill paste, found in the produce section of the supermarket, on hand for this recipe.
- 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3⁄4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1⁄2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill or dill paste, plus more for garnish
- grapeseed or canola oil
- 2 ounces cured salmon
- 1⁄2 cup crème fraîche
- Preheat the salt block on the stove, beginning with low heat and gradually increasing the temperature to medium-high, until the surface temperature is 375°F.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pancake batter. With a whisk, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir with the whisk just until smooth and well combined. The batter will be thick. Stir in the dill.
- Brush the hot salt block lightly with grapeseed or canola oil. Drop batter by the heaping tablespoon, spreading it out slightly to make pancakes around 2 inches wide. Let cook for about 5 minutes, until the underside is browned, then flip using a metal spatula, such as a fish spatula. The pancakes might stick slightly but should release when dislodged with the metal spatula. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes until the other side is browned. Continue with the remaining batter, brushing more oil on the block if needed. Keep cooked pancakes warm in a 170°F oven or under a clean dishtowel.
- To serve, top each pancake with a small piece of salmon and a small dollop of crème fraîche. Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill.
Since the part of the block that is directly over the heat source is hotter than the sides, make sure to use a laser thermometer to gauge the temperature in various parts of the block and check the pancakes on the hottest part first, as they will likely cook faster.