The French Laundry Cookbook-Yukon Gold Potato Blinis

If I ever find myself in a food rut, the French Laundry cookbook is a goldmine of inspiration. The photography is beautiful and the writing makes it clear that Thomas Keller is an incredibly skilled chef that strives for perfection in his creations. Some of the recipes are a little more involved than others--for example, the recipe for Baby Lamb-Five Cuts Served with Provençal Vegetables, Braised Cipollini Onions, and Thyme Oil involve breaking down an entire animal. I think I'll leave that one to the professionals. 

This is the first recipe I have tried from the book and it's a simple one: Yukon Gold Potato Blinis. Keller notes that this type of potato absorbs more cream and results in the best texture. The blinis are soft, a little dense, and taste faintly of the crème fraîche. The recipe instructs you to serve them as soon as possible. While they do taste best when warm, I served them as an hors d'oeuvre and found that they are fine at room temperature as well.

In the book, the suggested accompaniments are Bottarga di Muggine and Tomato Confit, or Roasted Sweet Peppers and Eggplant Caviar, but these make great bases for other toppings as well. Here, I've served them with smoked salmon, crème fraîche and dill.    

Recipe after the jump

Yukon Gold Potato Blini

Yield: 3 dozen

  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons crème fraîche, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper

Place the potatoes in a saucepan with cold water to cover by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked and tender (about 40 minutes, depending on the size of the potato).
Peel the warm potatoes and press them through a tamis. Immediately weigh out 9 ounces of puréed potatoes and place them in a medium metal bowl. Working quickly, whisk the flour into the warm potatoes, then whisk in 2 tablespoons crème fraîche. Add 1 egg, whisking until the batter is smooth, add the second egg, and then add the yolk.
Hold the whisk with some of the batter over the bowl. The batter should fall in a thick stream but hold its shape when it hits the batter in the bowl. If it is too thick, add a little more crème fraîche. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
Heat an electric griddle to 350°F. Note, if you do not have a griddle, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Spoon between 1 and 1 1/2 teaspoons of batter onto the griddle or skillet for each pancake. Cook until the bottoms are browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Then flip them to cook the second side, about 1 minute. The blini should be evenly browned with a small ring of white around the edges. Transfer the blini to a small baking sheet and keep warm while you make the remaining blini, wiping the skillet with a paper towel between batches. Serve the blini as soon as possible.

Author's Notes: "I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes for these blini because they absorb more cream than other potatoes and thus result in the best possible texture. This recipe will make extra batter, but it's a difficult recipe to reduce. The batter is best when used immediately, but it can be made up to two hours ahead if stored in a warm place (the cream may clot if it gets too cold). Use a scale to weigh the proper amount of potatoes after pureeing them, and make the batter while the potatoes are still warm or the blini will not have the correct texture." --Thomas Keller 

Recipe source: The French Laundry Cookbook
Image property of beetsandbites

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