Crepes with Smoked Salmon, Creme Fraiche and Chive
We had a fairly solid plan for breakfast on the morning following the Big Pig Gig. Since we only had a couple of overnight guests, we figured we would whip up some crepes on Sunday morning, something quick and easy that doesn’t require a lot of thought.
Then, Drink-O happened. Plus we went to bed at 3:30am. And I forgot to make the crepe batter ahead of time, and in the morning I discovered that a crucial element for the batter, milk, was nowhere to be found in the fridge. We also felt like a truck hit us.
So, crepes never happened on Sunday, and we ended up at a Bob Evans on Sunday afternoon, which is the best place to grab a meal of breakfast food after a night of BBQ and booze-fueled debauchery. After a couple of days, when everything was cleaned up and put away and the house returned to normal, I picked up some milk and went about implementing my crepe plan, two days late and for dinner instead of breakfast.
Hardware-wise, it’s nice to have a crepe pan. It’s not absolutely essential, and if you don’t have one you can always use a non-stick saute pan. I’m very idiosynchratic about my crepe-making process – I always use my same crepe pan, and I have to always use my wooden spoon that measures out exactly the 1/4 cup of batter that I need for each crepe. But, at minimum, you need a nonstick pan, a ladle or other means of providing a consistent measure of batter, a nonstick spatula, and a nonstick pair of tongs.
The batter recipe that I use is from the site Chocolate and Zucchini, and you can get the recipe there by clicking on the link. You’ll find most crepe recipes don’t vary much in their ingredients – flour, eggs, water, milk – as long as you end up with a thin batter, you should do just fine.
Like my other favorite quick meal, omelettes, crepes are more about technique than anything else. You need to get your fillings in order before you start cooking, so chop whatever needs chopping (in this case, smoked salmon and chives) and have them close at hand. Open up your container of creme fraiche (sour cream is a good substitute) and put two spoons in there (one to scoop, one to push off the creme fraiche onto the crepe).
Now comes the fun part. Take your pan and set it over high heat, and put a drop or two of water in the center of the pan. Take some butter out, and get a pat of butter ready (for each crepe, about half a tablespoon, maybe even less, depending on the size of your pan). When your water droplets sizzle and boil away, the pan’s hot and ready – put your butter in, and use your spatula to spread a thin layer of butter across the pan’s surface.
Using your left hand, hold the pan above the stove at a 45 degree angle (handle pointed down towards you – and if you’re left-handed, reverse whatever I’m saying here). With your right hand, equip your ladle, and ladle about 1/4 cup of crepe batter into the pan, keeping the ladle at the same position while swirling the pan to allow the batter to coat the surface and form a circle. Don’t worry if your circle isn’t perfect, it’ll be hidden when you fold it. Set the pan back down on the burner and cook the crepe for about 30 seconds until the top is dry and the edges begin to curl.
Equip your spatula, and shimmy it underneath the crepe, lift it, and flip it over to cook the other side. After you flip, start laying your filling ingredients in one quadrant of the circle (not a full half, since you’ll be folding this). By the time you’re finished, it’s time to flip and fold – use your tongs to grab the edge of the crepe, drag it over the filling, and fold again to form a little wedge. Shove this off onto a plate and start on the next crepe, adding more butter to the pan and letting it melt completely before ladling more batter.
Repeat as necessary. You’ll find that you have more than enough batter, so it can keep for a day or two in your refrigerator. We like to make a batch of dessert crepes, using things like Nutella, peanut butter, marshmallows, and/or bananas and chocolate. Really, anything you can get your hands on would work just fine. There are no crepe police.