Buckwheat Blini + Mushroom Caviar

From Amanda.  “Have you ever made blinis?  They’re a yeasted savory pancake, traditionally served with caviar and crème fraiche.  This version with mushroom caviar is fun to make (and gluten-free because buckwheat is not related to wheat and is actually a fruit).  Use any mushrooms you like, and get creative with seasonings too.  Make these for your next party!”

Makes enough to feed 12

12 oz  mushrooms (or ¾ of a pound) 1 ¼ C milk, or rice milk, or soymilk
2 tsp sea salt 1 tsp baking yeast 
1 Tbsp lemon juice 2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp walnut oil 1 1/3 C light buckwheat flour
1 tsp thyme leaves, fresh 2 free-range eggs, divided
3 tbsp fresh parsley 1 tsp black pepper, or to taste
1 C sour cream or Greek yogurt, opt.  Minced red onion or chives, opt.
Oil for “frying” See options below.

Make mushroom caviar ahead of time.  Wipe mushrooms clean of any visible dirt with a damp cloth or paper towel.  Chop fine.  Place mushrooms in a bowl and sprinkle with the 2 tsp of salt. Cover and leave for two hours.  Then rinse off salty water and pat dry.   Toss with lemon juice, walnut oil, thyme, parsley, black pepper and any additional salt you might like.  This is your caviar!

Making the blinis is a little tricky, but well worth the effort.  Heat milk until barely warm, about 110°.  Remove from heat, pour into a bowl, add yeast and dissolve by stirring.  Let stand for a few minutes.  The yeast will begin to bubble.  It’s alive!   Add the sale, flour and egg yolks and stir.  Cover with damp cloth or plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.  When you have about 5 minutes left of rising time, beat egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks.  Fold into risen batter and get ready to fry!

Heat griddle or large skillet until very hot and lightly oil with a nice high heat oil like macadamia, grapeseed or coconut.  Drop spoonfuls of the batter onto the hot griddle and cook until large bubbles appear.  Turn, cook briefly on the other side and flip them onto a waiting plate.  Garnish blinis with the sour cream or thick Greek yogurt, a generous dollop of mushroom caviar and some minced red onion or chives (or both).  Voila!  They’re fantastic!

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