Thursday, August 30, 2007

crepes with ham, spinach and beschemel

crepes are the ultimate pancake. little mini indulgences that can be enjoyed in so many ways. my love of crepes knows no bounds, and most people who know me well are aware of the lengths i would go to have one. they can be filled with a myriad of culinary delights, but my favorite crepe was from the creperie at the paris hotel and casino in las vegas. i was on a vacation with my mother (another crepe afficianado) and we popped in to have a snack. this is my rendition of that meal. enjoy!

crepes

ingredients:

1 cup flour (i use arnold's white whole wheat)

1 and 1/3 cup milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons melted butter, plus a tiny bit more


equipment:

crepe pan (or a well-seasoned 8" pan)

whisk

glass measuring cup with pouring lip
tongs


directions:

whisk together the egg and milk until well incorporated, then add to the flour and mix again. once all of the ingredients are combined, add the melted butter and mix further still. if the mixture is too thick, add more milk to thin it out. it should be quite runny indeed.
melt a small amount of butter in a pan on medium high and then wipe most of it out. using the measuring cup, pour three tablespoons or so into the pan and swirl it to coat the bottom. allow to set for about a minute, and then using tongs (or your fingers if you are adventurous) flip it and allow it to cook for another 30 seconds or so on the other side. repeat until all of the batter is gone. these don't need to be warm to be good...so feel free to double the mixture if you have a large party dining with you.

savory crepe filling

ingredients:

2 bags spinach

1/2 # shaved black forrest ham

gruyere cheese, grated fine


directions:

sautee the spinach in a little olive oil. if you like, you can add some fresh grated nutmeg to the greens, it perks them up just a bit.
once the crepes are complete, lay one out on a plate and layer with shaved ham, then spinach, then grated cheese. roll the top and bottom under and flip over (so that it is sitting on it's seam) and top with beschemel. don't know how to make beschemel? keep reading.

beschemel

ingredients:

2 to 3 tablespoons of butter

2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of flour (i used the same flour as for the crepes)

several cups of milk

grated cheese of your liking

black pepper


equipment:

heavy saucepan

whisk


directions:

melt butter in the saucepan and then add flour. you want this combimation to resemble a paste (think almond paste) and it should cook for about a minute to diminish the "fresh" flour taste and allow the butter to get a little nuttier. after that, add the milk, i usually start with about 2 to 3 cups of milk, it seems like a lot, but it will thicken. whisk this regularly (you don't have to stand there and stir the whole time, but don't leave the room either) until it is thick. you may need to add more milk if it gets too thick. it should be creamy and pourable. remove from heat and whisk in a handful of cheese. technically it is beschemel with no cheese, but cheese makes everything better. for this dish, i used the gruyere from above. add in some fresh cracked black pepper and enjoy.


notes:
my dinner guest at this meal was a vegetarian, so in place of the ham, i used sauteed oyster mushrooms in butter and salt and pepper.
any combination of meat and veggies, or all veggies and any sauce can be used for these. this is simply my favorite.
these crepes can be used for both savory and sweet applications. if you'd like to use them for a dessert, fill them with fresh berries and top with fresh whipped cream.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Ladies and gentlemen, I had the opportunity to partake in this culinary delight, and what a delight it was! Mister PracticalGourmet, please note: crepe pans make great gifts. Encourge the crepe-making!