I am in dire need of comfort food. Seriously. I can’t take anymore reality this week.
My most beloved comfort food is not mac n cheese, or pizza. It’s the humble crepe. I have many fond memories of dining at an old chain restaurant called The Magic Pan – which was an all-crepe restaurant. And my first real restaurant job was at the Two Sister’s Creperie in Los Altos California. (I was the dishwasher – most important job in the kitchen!) But it has been ages since I made them, so I decided to give the family a treat. They prefer them filled with sweetness, like jam, Nutella, bananas and chocolate, or a dollop of chocolate mousse. But not me. I’m a salty bastard, and prefer my crepes oozing with ham and cheese, creamy spinach or spicy sausage. Come to think of it, I like them plain too – straight out of the pan – or cut into chiffonade and used instead of noodles in a plain broth, as in the antiquated Consommé Celestine. Yup, that’s me. Old and plain.
I have a great flat French iron crepe pan that I boosted from some restaurant I worked at once. They make beautiful crepes, but beginners might prefer a non-stick skillet. Chefs differ on whether or not its necessary to cook both side of the crepe by flipping. I am a flipper, unless I have to make thousands of them, in which case … that is way too much effort.
Crepes will keep for a day or two in the fridge, and they freeze great too. Use them for wrapping up your favorite sweet or savory filling. See below for Crepes Suzette.
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Let butter sizzle, and cook until solids sink to the bottom to toast and blacken. Remove from heat, add vanilla and zest, and set aside to cool.
- Combine cooled brown butter, eggs, flour, milk, water, salt in a blender, and mix to the consistency of thin cream. Refrigerate 1-3 hours.
- Heat a non-stick pan over high heat. Add a 1/2 teaspoon butter, let it sizzle, then add enough batter to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Cook, swirling the pan, for 1 minute. Flip and cook the other side another minute, until golden brown. Turn out onto a plate, and repeat with remaining batter.
For Crepes Suzette, beat together 4 ounces of softened unsalted butter and the freshly grated zest of 2-3 oranges. Spread a thin layer of the butter on the inside of crepes, sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar, then fold into quarters. Melt a tablespoon of orange butter in a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon sugar and 4 folded crepes, and cook until golden brown and caramelized on each side. When done pour 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur) cook briefly, and ignite. (Use a match or tilt pan slightly to ignite with gas flame.) Serve immediately.