This combination of fresh corn, cornmeal and a smear of Mexican sour cream makes an easy appetizer for an elegant summer dinner party. The recipe is loosely based on one in "Jeremiah Tower's New American Classics."
The batter needs 30 minutes' resting time in the refrigerator.
Servings: 8 - 12
Yield: Makes 28 to 30 blini (8 appetizer servings or 12 hors d'oeuvres servings)
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup whole or low-fat milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for the skillet
- 1 ear corn, scraped (a scant 1 cup of kernels)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced serrano or jalapeño pepper
- Crema fresca (Mexican sour cream; may substitute creme fraiche)
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Boil a kettle of water and set aside.
Combine the cornmeal, salt and sugar in a medium bowl and gradually add the just-boiled water, stirring to combine. Sift the flour over the mixture and mix to form a firm paste. Let stand for 10 minutes to cool. Add the eggs one at a time, then the milk. Add the melted butter, stirring, and mix well. (The consistency of the batter should be somewhere between thick whipping cream and thin yogurt; if necessary, add milk to thin.) Add the corn and jalapeno pepper, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and place it on the middle oven rack.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When it is hot, add a little butter and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the skillet, being careful not to burn the butter. Add about 2 scant tablespoons of batter to make each blini (should be about 2 1/2 inches wide) and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly puffed and crisp on the bottom. You can cook 4 blini at time. When they are lightly browned on one side, turn and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on the other side. Transfer the cooked blini to the baking sheet in the oven. Repeat using the rest of the batter, adding butter to the skillet as needed.
To serve, place the blini on a warmed plate. Smear them lightly with the crema fresca and scatter cilantro leaves over the top. Serve immediately.
Adapted from "How to Pick a Peach: The Search for Flavor From Farm to Table," by Russ Parsons (Houghton Mifflin, 2007).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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