Blini, baby pancakes, are usually made with buckwheat, but here we use cornmeal for texture and flavor. Born in Russia, blini are the perfect vehicle for caviar.
- Heat oven to 250°F.
- In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt and stir well to mix. Add egg and milk, and mix until smooth.
- Heat a heavy griddle or frying pan over medium heat until hot, then brush with oil. Using a spoon and working in small batches, drop tablespoons of batter into the pan. When bubbles form evenly on the top of the blini, turn (just once) and cook until golden.
- Transfer the first batch of cooked blini to a heatproof plate lined with paper towels and keep warm, covered, in the oven. Repeat with the remaining butter.
- To serve, top each warm blini with 1 tablespoon crème fraîche, 1 teaspoon salmon caviar, 1/2 teaspoon osetra caviar, a pinch of chives, and a chervil leaf. Serve immediately.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve. You could find another wine besides Champagne to go with this dish, but why mess up a good thing? Because of the texture and assertive flavor of the cornmeal, though, the best plan is to choose a mature Champagne with some toast and yeast characteristics that match it. After that, let nature handle the rest: Little oily fish eggs, meet little refreshing citrus bubbles. It’s a perfect match.