Note: Crème fraîche is available at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Gelson's and most well-stocked markets.
1/2 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten, divided
1 tablespoon melted butter
Oil for the griddle
1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Combine the buttermilk, 2 tablespoons beaten egg and the butter in a small bowl. (Set aside the remaining egg for use in the soup.) Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; add the liquid ingredients. Stir just until blended.
2. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat with just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Spoon 1 teaspoon of batter onto the griddle or skillet for each "blini." Cook 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side until both sides are dark golden brown. Repeat until all the batter is used, adding oil to the pan as necessary. Makes about 30 "blini." Reserve in a warm place until ready to use.
Soup and assembly
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup diced leeks
1/2 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
6 cups chicken broth
1 small bay leaf
1 (2-inch) sprig fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons beaten egg (reserved from blini recipe above)
Scant 2 tablepoons crème fraîche
1 teaspoon thinly sliced chives
8 sprigs parsley
1. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauce pot over low heat. Add the leeks and celery and sauté about 5 minutes, stirring often, until tender. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, or until the garlic is fragrant.
2. Add the mushrooms and sauté until all the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf and rosemary and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, loosely covered, for 45 minutes. Remove bay leaf and rosemary.
4. Purée the soup in a blender until velvety smooth; this may need to be done in 2 or 3 batches. Rinse out the pot and pour the soup back into the pot. Bring the soup to a simmer.
5. Blend the remaining tablespoon butter with the flour in a small bowl. Whisk this into the soup and simmer about 1 minute until the soup is slightly thickened. In another small bowl, beat together the cream and the egg until blended. Whisk this into the soup until it is combined and the soup is slightly thickened; do not bring to a simmer or the egg will scramble. Season with one-eighth teaspoon each salt and white pepper, or to taste.
6. Combine the crème fraîche, chives, salt and white pepper to taste in a small bowl.
7. To serve, have the "blini," seasoned crème fraîche and soup on hand. Ladle about three-fourths cup soup into each of 8 shallow bowls. Use a sharp knife to cut a pocket in one of the blini. Spoon about one-fourth teaspoon crème fraîche onto each "blini" half, then put together to make a sandwich. Place 2 or 3 filled "blini" and a parsley sprig on top of each soup serving.