Weekend brunch hosts who want to forgo more familiar fare can spice things up with crêpes, a beloved dish in France that is popular in many other areas of the globe as well. The following recipe for “Asparagus & Ham Crêpes” from Lou Seibert Pappas’ “Crêpes: Sweet & Savory Recipes for the Home Cook” (Chronicle Books) is a versatile dish that can be made into a vegetarian offering by simply omitting the ham.
Asparagus & Ham Crêpes
Makes 8 crêpes
8, 6- or 7-inch garbanzo flour or savory crêpes (see below)
1-1/2 pounds asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch diagonal lengths
1 large sweet white or red onion, chopped
3/4 cup ricotta cheese or natural cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup shredded Gruyére or Emmenthal cheese
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon or dill, or 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon or dill
2 ounces honey-baked ham or
Black Forest ham, julienned
Prepare the crêpes. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Steam the onion and asparagus in a covered container over boiling water until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. In a medium bowl, beat the egg and mix in the cheeses, garlic, parsley, tarragon or dill, ham, and steamed vegetables.
Spoon 1/2 cup of the filling in a ribbon down the center of each crêpe and roll to enclose. Arrange in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until heated through. Serve at once.
Makes 16 to 18, 6- or 7-inch crêpes
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour, preferably bleached
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 2 or 3 tablespoons butter for coating the pan
In a blender or food processor, blend the eggs, milk, water, flour, salt, and the 2 tablespoons melted butter for 5 seconds, or until smooth. Stir down and repeat if necessary. Or, to mix by hand, sift the flour into a medium bowl and add the salt. Whisk the eggs until blended, mix in the milk and water and whisk this mixture into the flour and salt; stir in the 2 tablespoons melted butter. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (2 hours is preferable) or up to 24 hours.
Gently stir the batter if it has separated. Heat a seasoned 6- or 7-inch nonstick crêpe pan over medium-high heat until hot. Coat the pan lightly with butter, lift the pan from the heat and pour in 2 or 3 tablespoons of batter, tilting and rotating the pan to coat the surface. Cook until almost dry on top and lightly browned on the edges, about 1 minute. Loosen the edges with a metal spatula and flip the crêpe over using your fingers or the spatula, then cook the other side for about 15 seconds, or until lightly browned. Turn the crêpe out onto a clean tea towel to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter, wiping the pan with butter as needed and stacking the crêpes as they are cooked.
For serving immediately, cover the crêpes with aluminum foil and keep them warm in a preheated 200 F oven. For serving later, wrap them in plastic wrap in quantities intended for each use and slip them in a self-sealing plastic bag. Refrigerate crêpes for up to 3 days or freeze them for up to 2 months.
To make garbanzo flour crêpes, follow the savory crêpe recipe, but replace the 1 cup all-purpose flour with 2/3 cup all-purpose flour and 2/3 cup garbanzo flour.