Shop and Live Mediterranean

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blini: High Class Flap Jacks

A mild marriage of good taste

Russian caviar may be the world's most expensive ethnic 'soul food' registered on WHOIS. And rightfully deserved that would be. As with most traditionally favored dishes, caviar, particularly true caviar has an exclusinve list of compliments that is can or must be paired with for ultimate taste satisfaction. This fundamental accessory is none other than blini or blintz.

The diminuative flat bread comes in a number of incarnates including blintz, blintze or blin (plural: blintzes or blini; Lithuaian: Blynai, blynai; Russian: блин blin, блины (pl.) Polish: bliny; Ukranian: млинці, mlyntsi; Yiddish: בלינצע blintze) is a thin pancake. It is somewhat similar to a crêpe with main difference being the fact that yeast is always used in blini, but not used in crêpes. Therefore, blini is a 'leaven' bread. According to general sources, Traditional Russian bliny are made with yeasted batter, which is left to rise and then diluted with cold or boiling (zavarnye bliny) water or milk just before baking them in the traditional Russian oven (to this day the process of cooking bliny is referred to as baking in Russian, even though these days they are almost universally pan-fried, like pancakes, source: wikipedia).
French Crêpes in comparison, are made from unyeasted batter (usually made of flour, milk and eggs) are also not uncommon in Russia, where they are called blinchiki and considered to be a borrowed dish. All kinds of flour may be used for making bliny: from wheat and buckwheat to oatmeal and millet, although wheat is currently by far the most popular.
Even though the delicate leavened flat bread was introduced into the US mainsteam by Jewish immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe the item is not reported to be associated with any specific Judaic religious practice. During pre-Christian times, blini were prepared to celebrate the Pagan Change of Season rites, called Maslenitsa by Slavic peoples, who honored the sun with its round shape.
Today the holiday come to be known as Maslenitsa is among the oldest surviving Russian traditions with evidence tracing it to the 2nd century. The week-long celebration that marks the beginning of spring was one of the most important and elaborate for the pagan culture, as Russian winters were severe. As mentioned blini were consumed as symbols of the sun, 'personified by the ancient and powerful god Volos' This was done not only in thanksgiving, but also as a method of purification as it was coupled with an abstention from meat, which Russians have long regarded as a source of 'lust and aggression'. Linguistic evidence suggests that Maslenitsa ('Butter-Week') was formally called 'Myasopusta' ('meatless', though the word form is now archaic', source:
Whether you have the exceptional opportunity to enjoy a caviar tasting at a Maslenitsa celebration in Russia, or elect to savor the nearly ageless essential in some more familiar locale, do not neglect to pair the delicacy with its time tested comrade, blini. Upon review of a number of traditional blini recipes, I have chosen that of Daniel Boulod whose ingredients are more complimentary of savory dishes. Also, he uses traditional, and arguably the only acceptable dairy product to be served with caviar.
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup beer
2 tablespoons milk
2 egg whites
1 pinch salt
olive oil

1 In large bowl whisk flours into egg yolk, alternating with beer and milk until you have a smooth batter.
2 Beat egg whites until they peak add salt, fold into batter.
3 Heat 1 tsp olive oil in pan.
4 Spoon batter into hot oil 1 tbsp at a time.
5 When top starts bubbling flip them over, aprox 2 mins/side.
6 Serve w/caviar and creme fraiche.
Undoubtedly, this will be an enjoyable experience, and with a history.
Have a nice day,

No comments:

Post a Comment