Savory, sweet and pancakes — can they play together nicely in the sandbox? This dish — which combines a wild rice pancake with Gravlax (a traditional Swedish cured Salmon dish) and a Spicy Blackberry Relish (the Scandanavians might have used Lingonberry) shows they can. It is, in a sense, a double play. On the one hand the dish – with its pancakes and berries – is a play on a Scandanavian breakfast dish. But it is also a play on the traditional Russian blini dishes I knew from my Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.
For the Wild Rice Pancakes:
- 1 ¼ cups wild rice
- 5 cups water
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
For the Gravlax:
- 1 salmon (about three to four pounds after cleaning and beheading), skin on
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 good-size bunch dill, roughly chopped, stems and all
- 2 tablespoons vodka
For the Crème Fraiche Mustard Sauce:
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
- Juice from ½ of a juicy lemon
For the Spicy Blackberry Relish:
- Two baskets of fresh blackberries
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 red onions, halved and sliced
- 1 tablespoon of ground
- 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup apple cider wine vinegar
For the Garnish:
- Chive Oil
1. Make the Gravlax. Begin making the gravlax three days before service. Slice the salmon in half, lengthwise. Lay both halves, skin side down, on a plate. Sprinkle with the salt and sugar. Spread the dill over the salmon and splash with the vodka. Sandwich the fillets together, tail to tail, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Cover the sandwich with another plate and weigh it down with a can or two of tomatoes and refrigerate. Open the package every 12 to 24 hours and baste, inside and out, with the accumulated juices. On the second or third day, when the flesh has lost its translucence, slice thinly as you would smoked salmon — on the bias and without the skin.
2. Cook the Wild Rice. Bring the wild rice and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender but not mushy, 20 to 45 minutes depending on the variety of wild rice. Drain off any excess liquid, fluff the rice with a fork, and cook uncovered 5 minutes more.
3. Prepare the Wild Rice Pancake Batter. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt in a separate large bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, beating well to make a smooth batter. Stir in butter and cooked wild rice.
4. Make the Spicy Blackberry Relish. Combine all the ingredients, except the vinegar, in a large saucepan. Stir mixture over medium heat until the blackberries burst. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the vinegar and allow the mixture to simmer uncovered for 10 minutes over medium heat.
5. Make the Crème Fraiche Mustard Sauce. Combine all of the Crème Fraiche Mustard Sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend thoroughly.
6. Cook the Wild Rice Pancakes. Heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter on griddle and cook until browned, about 1 ½ minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the other side, about 1 minute. Continue with remaining batter.
7. Plate the Dish. Place a Wild Rice Pancake on each plate. Top each pancake with several slices of gravlax, themselves topped with a teaspoon of the spicy blackberry relish. Spoon some of the blackberry relish liquid between the pancake and the rim. Garnish with chive oil and a bit of the dill from the gravlax.