Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

July 25, 2013

Corn crepe can be sweet or savory

One of the earliest French culinary imports to make a dent in America was the crepe. As a kid in New York during the ‘60s, I remember dining with my family at quite a few creperies. I also remember the black steel crepe pan my folks bought, a token of their desire to make crepes at home every once in a while.

This admirable ambition faced two stumbling blocks. First, if the pan wasn’t well-seasoned (which required using it a lot and treating it with special care), the crepes stuck to it. And that meant we usually destroyed the crepes when the moment came to dig them out of the pan.

Second, conventional wisdom had it that each crepe in a stack of cooked crepes needed to be separated from the crepes above and below it using individual sheets of waxed paper, otherwise they’d all stick together. Well, who had the patience for that kind of fussiness?

Happily, I have solved both problems. Though I’m not generally a fan of non-stick pans — the usual choice for making crepes these days — they do work. I prefer stick-resistant skillets, which are coated with a safe enamel that works well with crepes. I’ve also discovered that you can stack crepes. They don’t stick to each other!

Still, why bother with crepes? Because if you have some crepes in the freezer and some leftovers in the fridge, you can put an elegant dinner on the table in no time. And if you make the crepes without sugar, they can be used in sweet or savory preparations. You can stuff them with everything from leftover cooked pork chops, to broccoli and cheddar cheese, to fresh berries and vanilla yogurt.

The crepes in this recipe are made not with white flour, but with stone-ground cornmeal and whole-wheat flour. This gives them not only better nutrition, but heartier taste and texture, too. As you cook them, be sure to re-stir the batter every time you reach into the bowl for more. That way the cornmeal will be evenly distributed in every crepe.

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