Stop whatever you are doing, tune up that French-Cafe-Jazz station you made on Pandora, and grab a sauté pan because we are making dinner. Or, if it is a little early for dinner, we can just as easily call this brunch.
It is never too early to start planning for the weekend.
My grandmother makes the most wonderful crepes I have ever tasted. They are the perfect, tissue-paper-thin discs you would expect to find at a corner bistro in Europe. They are always barely sweet and custard-like in flavor.
When Gaga makes crepes the grandchildren come running. We always have and we always will.
My favorite filling is the simplest - a smear of soft butter and a heavy dusting of sugar.
Recently, I began daydreaming about savory crepes. I loved this idea because these days, when it is just the two of us here at Norwyk Manor, I often have a fair amount of crepe batter leftover after breakfast has been served.
That extra batter can easily be kept in the refrigerator until dinner and turned into an entirely new dish. It is like we are giving ourselves a little gift for the future and, I mean, who would not want to eat crepes twice in one day?
I have been using Alton Brown's crepe recipe over the past few years because it is the closest I have found to my grandmother's recipe and it is so simple. The batter takes about 2 1/2 minutes to prepare and then it is stowed away in the fridge while you prepare the fillings.
This recipe requires a few more steps than some, but before you start dialing for Chinese, a word in its defense.
Though the steps may be many, the recipe itself is uncomplicated. If you can whisk a roux and brown some mushrooms, you can handle this. I know you can. We can do it together.
After the mushrooms have been browned, the chicken fried, and the spinach wilted, you can begin making your crepes. The first one will not turn out - it never does, but you are going to nail that second attempt.
We have crepes, sautéed mushrooms and spinach, sliced chicken - pan-fried and crisp, and now we are going to line those crepes with prosciutto. Oh yes...
This is such a feel good meal, the kind I would like to make on a stormy day and eat in the living room while watching Brooklyn. Gosh, I love that movie...
Oh, but back to the crepes.
As if this dish was not indulgent enough, we are adding a rich, parmesan cream sauce.
I pulled out all my tricks for this one.
A grind of black pepper, an extra sprinkling of parmesan, and we are done.
Call it brunch, call it dinner, call it an edible hug, this is everything fall food should be.
Chicken & Mushroom Crepes
makes 4 large crepes with leftover batter
Cook's Note: These crepes are very rich so this recipe can easily serve four. I suggest pairing them with a light salad and calling it a day.
for the crepes
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- softened butter, for cooking
Combine all ingredients in your blender and pulse for ten seconds. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
While the batter is resting, prepare the following components.
for the chicken
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large, boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large, nonstick frying pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
Pat the chicken breast dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper. Once the oil has begun to shimmer, lay the breast in the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes; until deep golden brown and crisp. Flip and cook on the opposite side until the chicken has an even crust and registers at 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer - about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and place the chicken on a cutting board while you prepare the mushroom filling.
for the mushroom filling
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, mined
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 large handfuls fresh spinach
- 8 slices prosciutto
- grated parmesan
In a large, nonstick frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the mushrooms, shallot, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have browned evenly; about 5-7 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with white wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes; until only about 1/3 of the liquid remains. Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the spinach. Allow to wilt while you prepare the crepes.
Set your oven to the warming setting.
Place a nonstick pan or crepe pan over medium heat and spread a thin layer of butter over the surface of the pan. Pour about 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly over the pan's surface. Cook for about thirty seconds, then flip and cook for an additional 10-20 seconds on the opposite side. Lay the crepes flat over a sheet of parchment and keep warm in the oven. After you have made four crepes, return the remaining batter to the refrigerator and store for up to forty-eight hours.
Slice the prepared chicken thinly. Place each crepe on a large plate and line with two slices of prosciutto. Spoon a portion of the spinach and mushroom filling down the center of the crepe and lay 3-4 slices of chicken over the filling. Sprinkle with grated parmesan. Fold the crepe tightly and immediately make the cream sauce.
for the cream sauce
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, warm
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Cook's Note: Make the cream sauce just before you plan on serving the crepes as it will quickly thicken and form a film over the surface if it is allowed to sit for more than a few minutes.
In a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and use a whisk to form a paste. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly, until the paste is just barely golden. While continuing to whisk, slowly stream in warm milk.
Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook for 3-5 minutes, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan.
Ladle the sauce over the hot crepes and serve immediately with an extra sprinkling of black pepper. Bon Appetit!