Fluffy Onion Blini
- For the Pancakes:
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, cut into small dice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 eggs, separated
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup minced fresh dill, plus 10 fresh dill sprigs, for garnish
- 1/2 pound thinly sliced smoked fish, for serving
- Caviar, for serving (optional)
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges, for serving
- For the Sauce:
- 1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
- 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
Adapted from wsj.com
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, stirring often, until golden, 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, sift flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a medium bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together egg yolks, buttermilk and melted butter. Set aside.
Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.
Stir flour mixture, then minced dill and yolk mixture into cooled onions. Stir about 1/4 of beaten egg whites into batter. Pour batter on top of remaining whites and gently fold together until almost all of whites have disappeared. Chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours. (Batter can be made up to 48 hours in advance.)
Combine crème fraîche with dill and shallots. If too thick, thin with a little heavy cream, 1 teaspoon at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until needed.
Preheat oven to 175 degrees. In a small pot over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and stir in remaining oil.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Brush pan with melted butter-oil mixture. Pour a scant ½ cup batter for each pancake into pan and cook until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. As you go, transfer cooked blini to a baking sheet lined with a tea towel and keep warm in oven. Between batches, brush pan with butter mixture as needed.