Not too, too bad for a ‘use up some leftovers’ dish, eh? Still, everything sounds better in French – especially food and swearing. This is just thin pancakes rolled around some leftovers with a bit of cheese and a thinned sour cream sauce.
I had made green chile sauce last week, as well as some balsamic roasted peppers, and really didn’t want to toss the leftovers in the freezer. We had some flour tortillas getting a bit long in the tooth in the bread box as well, but I’ve been meaning to work on my crêpe making skills, and thought this would be as good a time as any.
Lighter, more delicate than a tortilla; and customized with the addition of some savory herbs to the batter, these crêpes were perfect, topped with some fresh home made salsa sprinkled on top. And in no way did this feel like a ‘clean up the refrigerator’ meal.
I used to make crêpes a LOT – savory as well as sweet – offering them as a light dinner or brunch rolled with chicken and spinach and ‘shrooms; or as a dessert, filled with fruit and cream and dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Then, for some reason, I stopped.
In truth, I believe the real reason was that a friend had bought me an electric crêpe pan for my birthday, reasoning that I made crêpes and IT made crêpes – a match made in heaven, no?
I could never get the hang of cooking the batter on the machine, so gave it up as a lost cause and went on without lovely little French pancakes.
Until this weekend.
Alton Brown at the Food Network via da Google provided me with a nice, simple batter recipe that can be customized for sweet or savory fillings and tossed together in a blender.
•2 large eggs
•3/4 cup milk
•1/2 cup water
•1 cup flour
•3 tbsp melted butter
•Butter, for coating the pan
•Add 1/4 tsp of salt to the batter. Alton also suggests adding 1/4 cup of fresh herbs – which struck me as excessive. I added a good sprinkling of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute and about one tablespoon of lovely dried chives. Worked a treat.
I haven’t tried this yet, but here’s Alton’s suggestion:
Add 2-1/2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 2 tbsp of your favorite liqueur to the egg mixture. Hmmm, I DO have some left over chocolate mousse in the freezer…
To make the crepes:
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse for 10 seconds or so. Pop into the refrigerator for at least one hour and up to 48. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. I let mine sit for one hour more or less exactly, and feel I could have waited at least another hour.
Heat a small non-stick pan (I actually have a non-electric crêpe pan that Rich uses mostly for omelets) and add butter to coat.
Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to a cutting board. Plan on wasting at LEAST the first one or two – they won’t come together, you won’t have used enough batter, the pan won’t have been quite the right temperature – SOMETHING will screw them up. Don’t ask me how I know this.
Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone. After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.
The recipe claims that this will make between 17 and 22 crêpes. I got 9-1/2 (including the first two ‘problem’ pancakes) – still more than enough for dinner for four.
Here’s where my savory crêpes with chives become ‘Les Crêpes Mexicaine’:
Bring your leftover balsamic roasted peppers and green chile sauce to room temperature (I ended up ‘waving the chile sauce, just a bit, to loosen it up).
Combine one cup of sour cream with 1/4 cup of milk to make a spreadable sauce.
About one cup or so of grated cheese – I had some extra-sharp cheddar that was wanting to be used, but jack or Double Gloucester would be nice. Or you could use whatever grated from a packet – it’s all good.
Arrange your crêpes and other ingredients in a row (I had mine stacked between sheets of wax paper). Spread 1 tbsp of the sour cream on an open crepe, top with the chile sauce and peppers, then a sprinkle of cheese.
Roll the crepe into a tube and place, seam side down, in a baking dish you’ve spread with a thin layer of the sour cream mixture. Repeat process with the remaining crêpes.
Drizzle the remaining sour cream on the top (I also added a good dash of Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Sauce) and top with the remaining cheese.
Bake in at 350º until heated through and the cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Top with salsa and enjoy.
Keeping to my theme of using up leftovers – I tossed my salsa together with the grape tomatoes and English cucumber left over from Saturday evening’s appetizers; some pickled jalapeños from the Madison Farmers’ Market, a chopped onion, fresh parsley and a bit of sea salt.