These savories were originally crumbly pancakes with a strong buckwheaty, yeasty flavor. Nowadays, they're more cohesive, subtle, and sophisticated. Served with spoonfuls of creme fraiche and sevruga caviar, blini make wonderful hors d'oeuvres alongside glasses of chilled vodka.
The golden globes of the fruit world make tart-sweet "cups" for dollops of tangy creme fraiche, creating a delightful union of flavors. Serve these as a snack or starter -- anytime you want a bite (or two) of sunshine.
The anchor for our sumptuous spread is a glazed bone-in ham. It's basted with a spicy-sweet blend of honey, fresh horseradish, and allspice, which helps burnish and crisp the skin. Horseradish cream amplifies the flavors in the glaze.
The crepes can be refrigerated, wrapped in plastic wrap, up to two days; or frozen, wrapped in paper towels (to absorb moisture when thawing) and plastic wrap, and placed in a freezer bag, up to one month. Thaw completely before filling. The mushroom filling can be made two days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. When Martha made these crepes on Cooking School episode 404, she made a half recipe and finished each serving with a fried egg.
Baking whole shallots wedged in a bed of salt insulates them a bit from the heat so they turn very soft and creamy inside. Don't worry that they'll be overly salty; in fact, they'll be seasoned just right. Serve this creamy condiment with Spiced Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder.