These savory french crêpes are a traditional breakfast in Pierre’s home in France. Whenever his mother, Suzanne, makes these for him, Pierre’s eyes light up like it’s Christmas Day. So, it’s no wonder that these crêpes are also the most-requested breakfast in our own home. I love the pretty green color, which is a result of blending spinach with the crêpe batter. The filling is simple, just grated gruyère. These are delicious on their own but are even better served with a sunny-side egg on top.
Pierre’s mother often uses frozen lettuce rather than spinach for the batter. In fact, she does this following a tip from her mother, who, like many in her generation, had suffered during WWII with German troops occupying her own home. The troops took what food and drink they wanted without any consideration for the home owners. Left without any food, she would gather any scraps she could find, such as potato and carrot peels and boil them down to make a soup. That soup and this frozen lettuce are examples of some of the resourceful and prudent measures this woman took to provide food for her family in those times.
Her method is easy: Keep a plastic bag or container in the freezer where you deposit any leftover lettuce – lettuce that has wilted past eating fresh but hasn’t gone bad. When you’ve got at least a cup’s worth, you can make these crêpes and relish in your impressive frugality!
I already used up my frozen leftover lettuce so I made these with frozen spinach. I found that my potato ricer is also a great tool to press and squeeze out the liquid of the cooked spinach. I must confess, I purchased it right after watching Martha Stewart demonstrate it’s incredible powers to make mashed potatoes that are fluffy, airy and down-right ethereal. Unfortunately, shortly after purchasing it, I began my failed and meaningless attempt at eating “low carb.” So, this little tool sat in my drawer, neglected and unloved for some time. That is no longer, as I use it all the time now to make these crêpes as well as my beloved, high carb mashed potatoes.
INGREDIENTS: (10 large crêpes or 15 small crêpes)
- 1 pkg. frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbl. melted butter
- gruyère, for the filling
- With a microwave or steamer, completely defrost the frozen spinach or lettuce.
- With your hands or a potato ricer, press and squeeze out all the excess liquid. Set aside.
- In a blender, add the flour, eggs, milk, salt, butter and spinach.
- With the pulse button, blend the ingredients a bit at a time.
- After a few seconds of pulsing it, you can blend away for about 30 seconds or until the batter is completely mixed. Scrape down the sides in between blending to ensure that all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Let the batter rest for at least 1/2 hour*.
- In a non-stick skillet or crêpe pan on medium heat, rub a little butter on the entire surface.
- Pour about 1/2 cup – up to 2/3 cup of batter (depending on the size of your pan) and quickly tilt the pan to spread the batter evenly in a thin layer.
- Cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the bottom side is light golden.
- With a thin spatula or your amazing fingers, flip the crêpe over and cook until that side is golden (about 2 min).
- When the 2nd side is golden, flip the crêpe AGAIN (so that the prettier side will show) and quickly scatter 2 Tbl. of gruyère over the entire crêpe. Fold it in half and then, fold in half again. Transfer to a platter.
- Repeat until all the batter is used.
*You can make the batter up to one day ahead and keep it overnight in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.