Savory Pancakes for Dinner

Photo by Romulo YanesPhoto by Romulo Yanesby Sarah Angileri, Gourmet Live

After returning from a jazz show in the wee hours of the morning this past weekend, my stomach acted out accordingly, grumbling a disconcerting melodic riff. With a pantry running low, and my energy even lower, I turned to my griddle and my favorite foolproof Cottage Cheese Pancake recipe. I'm not sure this counted as an exceptionally late midnight snack, the earliest breakfast I've ever eaten, or a prelude to shrove Tuesday, but no matter the time of day, pancakes are versatile enough fit the bill and fill the stomach.

See also: The Ethical Salad

Try sweet kernel-speckled Fresh Corn Pancakes served with salsa, sour cream, or guacamole for a zesty, yet comforting dinner. If you like your pancakes with a little crunch and even more spice, Sweet-Potato and Kimchi Pancakes are pan-fried like latkes, but are fragrant and flavorful with a kick from pungent pickled cabbage and Korean chile powder.

For and elegant way to sneak pancakes into your next dinner party menu, try Caviar and Salmon Blini Tortes (recipe below), which artfully layer buckwheat cakes, creamy egg salad, and rich smoked salmon with a dollop of trout roe.

Caviar and Salmon Blini Tortes

With sustainability in mind, we taste-tested a variety of domestic caviars. Trout roe had the pop and brininess we were looking for-and it was especially pretty.

For egg salad
• 1 hard-boiled large egg, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons sour cream
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

For blini

• 2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup whole milk
• 1 large egg, separated
• 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled, divided

For filling
• 1/4 lb thinly sliced smoked salmon at room temperature
• 2 oz trout caviar, such as rainbow-trout caviar*, or salmon roe

Garnish:
sour cream; chopped chives

See also: Five Tips for Egg-cellent Scrambled Eggs

Make egg salad:
• Stir together all ingredients and a pinch of salt.

Make blini:
• Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl. Add milk and yolk and whisk until smooth.
• Beat egg white with a clean whisk in another bowl until it just holds soft peaks. Fold into batter along with 2 tablespoons melted butter.
• Brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with some of remaining melted butter, then heat over medium heat until hot. Working in batches of 6 or 7, drop 1 level tablespoon batter per pancake into skillet and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Flip over and cook 1 minute more. Brush blini on both sides with some of remaining melted butter, then transfer to a plate and keep warm, covered with foil. Brush skillet with butter between batches.

Fill tortes:
• Drape smoked salmon on 6 blini and top with egg salad. Spoon caviar onto 6 more blini, then stack on egg-salad-topped blini.

Cooks' note: Egg salad can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to cool room temperature before using.

*Domestic caviar is available at specialty markets and Sunburnt Trout Company (800-673-3051).

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