Spinach blinis with smoked salmon, a recipe for a light but nutritious meal, for a leisurely brunch at home, or for a light dinner. Blinis are small Russian pancakes, served with caviar, red caviar, salmon, etc. They are fluffy but thin and usually have a neutral taste. Today we will give them some color and flavor by adding spinach, for more nutrients and fiber.
Spinach, one of the richest in nutrients green leafy vegetables, exceeds the daily requirement of our body with vitamins A and K. It is also a rich source of manganese and folic acid, while providing magnesium and iron (although in a form less absorbable by the body), vitamin C and B vitamins. Recently, its anticancer properties are studied, attributed to flavonoids and polyphenols contained in spinach (antioxidants). These same elements, especially the 13 kinds of flavonoids, shield blood vessels and protect against cardiovascular disease and stroke. Vitamin K activates osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone mineralization, has a positive effect on bone density and reduces the risk of fracture. Finally, it has been shown that consumption of spinach can delay the degeneration of nerve cells in the brain that occurs over the years.
As we said earlier, iron contained in spinach is poorly absorbed by the body. To double the absorption you should accompany it with a food rich in vitamin C (e.g. lemon, tomato, peppers). To increase the absorption of lutein (carotenoid antioxidant) contained in spinach, add olive oil, which favors absorption.
You can read all about the properties of salmon in the post Grilled Salmon with Caper Sauce and Leeks.
The original recipe complements blinis and salmon with a homemade sour cream, by stirring 1 cup cream with the juice half lemon and some salt. I tried it with low-fat cream, but I cannot say I was excited. Afterwards I tried it with yogurt cheese and it fit perfectly! I think, however, that it would very well with other cream cheeses as well. But if you can find sour cream, try it this way.
Fresh cilantro, dill, parsley and of course spinach will match perfectly too. I baked the blinis in some special baking tins I bought many years ago from abroad. They’re like rings, with a diameter of 3in. and a height of about 0.4in. The yield was 18 blinis. If you do not have such, you can bake the dough into small round baking pan of 8 in. diameter, and then cut the pieces into quarters. This is the way the blinis were baked in the original recipe. It is really presentable!
Preparation time: 50 minutes
- 70 g. (2.5 oz.) Yellow flour
- 30 g. (1 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 ¼ cup milk 2% fat
- 4 g. (0.14 oz.) fresh yeast
- 100 g. (3.5 oz.) spinach, washed, dried and cut into chunks
- 20 g (0.7 oz.) butter or 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 300 g. (10 oz.) smoked salmon, cut into strips
- 250 g. (8 oz.) yogurt cheese or sour cream or other cream cheese
- green salad of your choice
- Slightly heat half the amount of milk and dissolve the yeast in it.
- Beat in a blender the milk with the yeast, remaining milk and spinach.
- Separate the yolk from the egg white and add the yolk to mixture. Beat the mixture for 2 minutes.
- Add slowly the two flours and a pinch of salt. Allow the dough to rest for about 30 minutes.
- Beat the whites into meringue and gently stir in the dough.
- Preheat oven to 350 ° F. Heat the butter or oil in a skillet (or a small round baking pan diameter 20 cm.) over medium heat. If you have special molds, brush them lightly with melted butter and place as many as they will fit in the pan. Fill the molds with a little of the mixture. If you don’t have molds, lay the dough in a round baking pan and bake for 4 minutes, until dough is formed.
- Then with the help of a spatula transfer the blinis with the molds on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for another 3 minutes on each side. If you are not using molds, simply transfer the pan in the oven and when it’s time to flip them, do it with the help of a dish.
- Let them cool for a while and unmold, or just cut the dough into quarters.
- Serve while still warm (although they were eaten cold just fine) with some of the yogurt cheese, smoked salmon strips and green salad.
Recipe adapted from “Elle a table” magazine, December 2008.