French Fridays with Dorie: Buckwheat blini with caramelized shallots, witled arugula and crème fraîche | eat. live. travel. write.

French Fridays with Dorie: Buckwheat blini with caramelized shallots, witled arugula and crème fraîche

Ok so I cheated a little with this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe. It was supposed to be buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon and crème fraîche but anyone who knows me will know that smoked salmon is one of the foods I simply cannot eat (just a dislike, not an allergy).  In any case, I figured the “technique” in this recipe was in the making of the blinis which I have never done before so I figured I would concentrate on that.  I halved the recipe (though it still made way more than I expected) and we enjoyed this as a pre-dinner snack with some caramelized shallots and wilted arugula atop a dab of crème fraîche.

The blinis were pretty easy to make (don’t forget to factor in the hour sitting time for the batter) though it took a few goes to get even-sized, small enough rounds…

To caramelize the shallots, I melted about 2 tablespoons of butter and sautéed 4 small shallots until they were golden brown.  Then I added in about a tablespoon of sugar and turned the heat to medium-low and allowed the shallots to continue to cook until they were caramelized.  I removed the shallots from the pan and added the arugula, allowing it to just wilt, not colour at all before I took it out of the pan.


Well wow. The blinis were so tasty – love the tang the buckwheat brings… The slight sharpness of the blinis and the crème fraîche was wonderfully offset by the sweetness of the shallots and the peppery arugula was the perfect finish.  I’ll be making these again – with holiday season coming up, I can envisage a whole host of toppings that would work for these delightful little bites!

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77 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Buckwheat blini with caramelized shallots, witled arugula and crème fraîche

  1. Rose October 14, 2011 at 05:59 #

    What a great idea, those look delicious! I too have a long standing dislike of smoked salmon and considered changing the topping, but my poor husband loves smoked salmon and so rarely gets to have it because of my dislike, so I decided that to be fair to him I would stick with the recipe this week. In the end I liked my blini, they were good, but your look so much better!

  2. Liz October 14, 2011 at 06:14 #

    Oh, what a yummy adaptation! I wasn’t sure if I’d like buckwheat pancakes, but these were delightful. Even picky Bill ate leftovers with syrup 🙂

  3. Mike@The Culinary Lens October 14, 2011 at 06:43 #

    I prefer your salmon-free rework. When making mini pancakes like this putting your batter in a squeeze bottle is a huge help.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite October 14, 2011 at 06:45 #

      Oh my – what a GREAT idea! Noted for next time, because there will be a next time!

      • Mike@The Culinary Lens October 16, 2011 at 09:35 #

        Would you believe only yesterday I had to make 200 mini potato pancakes and with the help of the squeeze bottle trick and a flat top griddle the were done in no time.

  4. Chez Loulou October 14, 2011 at 07:52 #

    As much as I love smoked salmon on blinis, the idea of caramelized shallots and wilted arugula on blinis has me swooning!

  5. anja jansen October 14, 2011 at 08:26 #

    Love you’re change in recipe. It sounds very interresting and looks great.

  6. Mr. Neil October 14, 2011 at 08:26 #

    I must admit, when Mardi told me she was making blinis, my face crumpled slightly on hearing there would be an absence of caviar or smoked salmon. (Sigh – such is the downtrodden life I lead…)

    However, when three of these beauties were delivered to my office as a snack amidst a pile of paperwork, I cannot say I felt deprived whatsoever! Tasty, delightful, vegetarian nibbles. You can be sure we’ll be doing these again! 🙂

    I was not drinking wine at the time, but a white from the Southern Rhone would be my unorthodox pick.

  7. Cher October 14, 2011 at 08:28 #

    Great topping variation!
    These make a beautiful little vehicle for so many topping choices.
    I am glad Mr. Neil was able to over come his “almost” disappointment 🙂

  8. Jill @ MadAboutMacarons October 14, 2011 at 08:35 #

    Mardi, what a great re-take on the salmon – although as a Scot, I have to say I love the stuff, as long as it’s good quality. If it’s just the rubbish oily smoked salmon they sell off in supermarkets, then I would MUCH rather have your alternative here. Nice touch with the carmelised shallots and what a team you and they make: love Mr. Neil’s suggestion of the southern Rhone, packed with sun, sounds perfection.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite October 16, 2011 at 11:29 #

      Oh I have tasted the “good stuff’ but I just don’t like it… These were so good though – I was pleased they turned out so well!

  9. alice October 14, 2011 at 09:54 #

    Love that you did another topping! 🙂 Its looks fab!

  10. Stefanie October 14, 2011 at 10:03 #

    French cooking always intimidates me and frustrates me because there are always so many detailed steps! I think that I can do this though! They look amazing!

  11. Paula October 14, 2011 at 10:18 #

    You knocked these little guys out of the park Mardi! Who needs smoked salmon anyway? Like you, I don’t eat it. My husband is like Neil however and would have enjoyed the salmon topped blinis but also like Neil, he would have accepted your version just as happily.

  12. SoupAddict October 14, 2011 at 10:34 #

    I totally agree about the blini-as-vehicle – so much potential for great appetizers all holiday season long. I also like that buckwheat flour is healthy, so, you don’t feel quite as guilty about indulging.

  13. Denise@There's a Newf in My Soup! October 14, 2011 at 10:40 #

    Nice variation! I strayed too, using smoked black cod. Pretty photos, as always.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite October 16, 2011 at 11:23 #

      Thanks! I think it’s ok to stray as long as you make the main part of the recipe, right?

  14. Adriana October 14, 2011 at 10:53 #

    I love the combination of flavors, but then again, I’ll eat ANYTHING with caramelized onions or shallots. I’m definitely stealing Mike’s squeeze bottle idea for the next time too. Have a great weekend!

  15. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction October 14, 2011 at 11:30 #

    These are so pretty! Love the little blinis! And, I’m totally with you on the smoked salmon. I definitely prefer your sans-salmon version. 🙂

  16. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. October 14, 2011 at 11:30 #

    I love the twist with the topping you did here. I have to admit that while I love cooked salmon, I don’t always like smoked salmon. I have to be in the right mood for it. So, I really like what you did here!

  17. Susan October 14, 2011 at 11:39 #

    I should have thought to be creative like you instead of passing all together on this recipe – your version looks wonderful! I don’t know what it is about Salmon. I love fish, but don’t care for Salmon while most people who won’t eat any other fish love it.

    Nicely done!

  18. The Mistress of Spices October 14, 2011 at 12:46 #

    Damn…yet another FFWD that I missed, though I had every intention of making it this week! I LOVE your veggie adaptation with the caramelized shallots and arugula…yum! I’m a huge fan of blinis, so I will definitely try this recipe! Good job!

  19. Kate @Kate from Scratch October 14, 2011 at 12:48 #

    This looks delicious. I love your version, and these photos are mouth watering and breathtaking.

  20. Ei October 14, 2011 at 13:27 #

    Now THAT is a blini I can get behind! Caramelized onions make everything better.

  21. Robin October 14, 2011 at 17:08 #

    Your topping looks and sounds delicious! I don’t like smoked salmon either and did a creamed mushroom topping. I like the size of your blinis, I’d definitely make again and will try your topping.

  22. joy October 14, 2011 at 17:15 #


  23. foodie @ Tasting Spot October 14, 2011 at 17:24 #

    i really like your food pictures and want to invite you to try out tastingspot.com. it’s for anyone that just wants another place to submit photos and share it will other foodies. It’s still in beta version, but would love for you to start adding some photos and help get it going.

  24. cathy October 14, 2011 at 18:14 #

    Are you sure about the whittling of the rocket though???

  25. yummychunklet October 14, 2011 at 20:51 #

    Love your caramelized shallots addition! Beautiful and tasty looking twist!

  26. Ann October 14, 2011 at 23:17 #

    What a great substitution! I’m glad you made the blinis and substitution the caramelized shallots is brilliant! I LOVE smoked salmon, but am highly allergic….so I just love it!

  27. Sook October 15, 2011 at 00:12 #

    Wow, these look amazing! I have to make these sometime! 🙂

  28. Ali October 15, 2011 at 04:32 #

    I agree with you, am not a great fan of salmons, just don’t like it. Great work on the blinis, perfect substitute. Love the photos.

  29. Renee - Kudos Kitchen October 15, 2011 at 09:39 #

    Too bad I had to drop out of FFWD because this looks awesome! The good news however is…I still have Dorie’s book and I can make these whenever I like. After seeing your wonderful sounding adaptation and stunning photos, I’ll be making these sooner rather than later.
    Nicely done Mardi!

  30. Kate@Diethood October 15, 2011 at 10:00 #

    Oh. My. Goodness. Caramelized shallots?! Love it!

  31. Lindsey October 15, 2011 at 10:27 #

    So sad you don’t like smoked salmon, it’s sooooo healthy and delicious! Well, hats off to you for making blinis! Never would have thought to make them myself (says the baker) but they look scrumptious! Anything with shallots is alright in my book. Carmelized? even better!

  32. Frankly Entertaining October 15, 2011 at 14:55 #

    These look amazing! I love the idea of the caramelized shallot. Maybe I’ll have to incorporate a blini bar into my Thanksgiving meal!

  33. Betsy October 15, 2011 at 18:15 #

    I do like smoked salmon, but your variation is just as appealing to me as the original recipe. I also liked the tangy of the buckwheat pancakes. Nice appetizer flavors.

  34. Geoff October 15, 2011 at 21:50 #

    Oh wow…Mardi.
    Caramelised shallots… excellent.

  35. penny aka jeroxie October 16, 2011 at 01:50 #

    will be such a nice idea for a party.

  36. Renee October 17, 2011 at 20:04 #

    I almost did not read your post because I LOVE smoked salmon. But I enjoy reading your blog and I am so glad I checked in. Your recipe looks delicious and am planning on preparing it very soon. Great job!

  37. stacy :) October 21, 2011 at 16:34 #

    I loved my blinis with smoked salmon but now I want to try them again with caramelized shallots and arugula! Those sound so good.


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