Makes 8 waffles (about 7 inches in diameter)
Waffles are a specialty of the north of France, the area that borders Belgium, beloved throughout the country, and, odd as it seems to us, almost never served in the morning. For the French, waffles are often a snack—you can buy them on the street from the same vendors who make crepe—most often a dessert (like Waffles and Cream, page 416 of the book), and sometimes a savory starter or nibble, which is the perfect role for these chic waffles studded with smoked salmon.
The batter is flavored with chives and scallions, along with the salmon. I use a standard waffle iron, but in Paris restaurants, waffles are often served as mini versions made by pouring small polka dots of batter onto the iron. Whether you make the waffles small or large (then cut them into smaller wedges), they're lovely topped with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream and lovelier still when finished with a few beads of salmon roe.
You can arrange the waffles in the kitchen, topping them with crème fraîche or sour cream and the salmon roe, if you're using it; you can just put out the waffles and fixings and let your guests make their own; or you can go fancy and make mini waffles that can be stacked. They'll be delicious no matter how you serve them.
Waffles are best eaten hot off the iron, although they can be kept for about 20 minutes in a 200 degree F oven. You can freeze freshly made or leftover waffles. Layer them between sheets of wax paper and wrap them airtight. To revive them, thaw, then reheat and recrisp them in a toaster or toaster oven.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl. In another bowl or a large measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the milk, eggs, and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and stir everything together gently—it's better to have a few lumps than it is to beat the batter. Stir in the smoked salmon, scallions, and chives. (You can cover the batter and leave it at room temperature for up to 1 hour before waffling; stir well before using)
When you're ready to make the waffles, preheat a waffle iron according to the manufacturer's directions. If your iron is not nonstick, brush it lightly with oil or spritz it with vegetable cooking spray. If you'd like to keep the waffles warm while you're making the full batch, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 200 degrees F; line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
When the iron is hot, pour about 1/2 cup batter over the grids, using a spatula to spread it evenly across the surface—you want a thin layer. (Precisely how much batter you need will depend on the size of your iron.) Let the batter bake for about 30 seconds before closing the lid and baking the waffle until it is well browned on the underside—that's the side that will always be brownest and most beautiful, no matter what you do. To keep the waffles warm if you're not serving as you go, place them on the baking sheet and slide them into the oven. Continue until you've cooked all the batter.
Cut the waffles into quarters and arrange the quarters on plates. Top each one with crème fraîche or sour cream, salmon roe, if you're using it, and a sprinkling of chives. Or, if you've made mini waffles, you can create millefeuilles with them, sandwiching the waffles with cream. Count on 3 little waffle stacks per serving.
This page created December 2010
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