If you ever had any doubt you could make a crepe, I’ve got good news: If you can make a pancake, you can make a crepe. In fact, I don’t make a very good pancake (in other words, I’m horrible at it), but for some reason I can fry up a batch of crepes in no time. Crepes are the ultimate no fuss food. First of all, the batter comes together in about two minutes in a blender. It has to rest for at least half an hour before cooking, but I’ve let the batter sit for two days in the fridge before using, just because I got sidetracked with other shiny objects. While the batter is resting, the asparagus can be tossed in the oven for roasting, and the cheese sauce (also super simple) can be put together. If you’ve got a good non-stick skillet or cast-iron pan, your crepe cooking will be a cinch, and each one only takes about a minute or two to make. The end result is a light and beautiful bundle with plenty of fresh asparagus and just the right about of what you will swear is cheese fondue, which happens to be something I cannot resist. Fill them, bake them, and chow down. You will be very proud of yourself, as well you should be.
I wasn’t kidding for one second when I told you how easy it is to make a crepe. There is a tiny trick to swirling batter in the pan to make sure the bottom of the pan is covered , but that’s about it. I’ve tried to explain it all in the recipe below so do not fear. This crepe recipe is indestructible, and makes the most beautiful crepes I’ve ever seen. They will not tear, but are super-thin. In fact, if you hold one up with one hand and put your other hand behind the crepe, you can see it through the crepe. All that, plus you can fill it with the most substantial fillings you can invent, and they won’t come apart. This is a big win for me, since I have a habit of being rough on my food and often rip, tear, or in other ways annihilate at least part of many recipes.
I’ve just got to say that I love this cheese fondue sauce, and kind of invented it by accident. There I was, minding my own business and making the cheese sauce. Looked good. Tasted it and swore. Rats!! I forgot to add the wine!! This cannot be a cheese fondue sauce without the wine, and all cooking ‘wisdom’ says you must cook all the alcohol out of a recipe or it will be too ‘boozy’ (whatever that’s supposed to mean, and why it’s a bad thing I cannot imagine). Anyhow, throwing caution to the wind, I added the wine after the sauce was done, and it was great!! Just the right amount of fondue flavor, so there goes another cooking legend laughed at and tossed by the wayside, at least for this recipe. PS: While not included in the recipe, I added some crushed croutons to the top for crunch, so if you happen to think that’s an OK idea, and have any dried bread or croutons laying around, just toss them into a Ziplock bag, get out a hammer, and you’ll be in business.
For a little more color, I diced up some asparagus and quick sautéed them in butter to sprinkle on the top.
Everything gets put together and tossed into the oven to warm through….Now all that’s left is the eating.
Hope you enjoy this one! Thanks so much for reading today. xoxoxox
- FOR THE CREPES
- 1 ½ cups unbleached flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups of 2% milk
- 4 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- FOR THE CHEESE FONDUE SAUCE
- 3 tablespoons unbleached flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups milk (I used 2% because that’s what I had, but whole milk works too)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 ½ cups grated Jarlsberg or other Swiss-type cheese, grated (plus extra for topping)
- 4 tablespoons white wine (I’m liking Pinot Grigio for this)
- FOR THE ASPARAGUS
- About 4 bunches of asparagus (you’ll need 4 spears for each crepe you make, plus an extra 7-8 spears for the topping) – tough ends removed and washed well in cold water. NOTE: It’s a good idea to let them sit in a sink of cold water for several minutes to let all that sandy soil sink to the bottom, and as an added bonus it all helps rehydrate them.
- FOR THE CREPES (Makes about 16 crepes)
- In a blender (or a mixing bowl if no blender is around), add the flour and salt.
- In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, combine the milk, eggs, and melted butter.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and blend or mix until a smooth batter appears. NOTE: the batter should be the consistency of whipping cream, so if it looks too thick, add a little more milk.
- Allow batter to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to two days before using.
- When batter is finished resting, head a nonstick skillet with an 8-inch bottom, a crepe pan, or cast-iron skillet over medium high heat with just a teaspoon of oil and heat until the oil starts to shimmer. At that point, add about ½ teaspoon butter to the pan and swirl around until the bottom of the pan is coated but be careful not to let it get so hot that it burns.
- Time to move fast: Using a ¼ cup measuring cup or ice cream scoop, ladle ¼ cup of the batter right into the middle of the pan, and immediately start tipping the pan in a slow circle. Keep that up until the bottom of the pan is covered. If you see that any little holes have been left (this happens to me in every single crepe I attempt), just drop a few drops of batter onto the holes and they will fill up like magic.
- Cook until the sides start to look crisp and the batter looks kind of dry on top.
- Now peek – Using a small spatula, lift up the side of one crepe. do you see pretty brown designs on the bottom of the crepe? I thought so! Now it’s time to flip: Using your spatula (or if you are brave, your fingers), lift up a corner of the crepe and flip that guy right over. Do not panic!! If you mess it up somehow, just untangle the crepe and flip it again. I swear to you; this recipe is indestructible – it took all the abuse I handed out to it and ended up looking like a champ.
- Cook it on the second side until it’s set up, which should take all of about 30 seconds. You still want some ‘give’ in the structure so it will roll up nicely.
- Every time you make a crepe, it gets easier, so don’t get down on yourself if your first few attempts end up unrecognizable. I don’t know what you might do, but I ate the evidence, and nobody was the wiser.
- When your crepe is done, just put it on a cooling rack. You can stagger your finished crepes on the rack or stack them up. They won’t stick together, believe it or not.
- NOTE: You might just want to use about half of the crepes, depending on the size of the crowd you are feeding. These guys freeze like a charm, so put some parchment in between each extra crepe, stack them up, and pop them in the freezer. You will be all set for your next crepe endeavor.
- FOR THE CHEESE FONDUE SAUCE
- NOTE: This recipe makes enough sauce for about 8 crepes. If you are making 16 crepes, just double the recipe amounts of asparagus and sauce.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir together to form a paste, then cook over medium-high heat for at least one minute.
- Slowly pour in the milk and whisk well to work any of the lumps of flour out. Add salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and boils. Allow to go on a low boil for about one minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese.
- Once all the cheese has melted, stir in the white wine.
- NOTE: Yes, I know you are supposed to cook all the ‘alcohol’ out of any sauce to prevent it from tasting too harsh or boozy (whatever that is). Well, I forgot, so decided to try to add the wine after the sauce was finished, and it tasted just right!! It is a cheese fondue sauce after all, and if you can’t taste wine in a fondue sauce then I’m not sure what the point is to it all. So, I have broken yet another sacred cooking rule, and lived to tell the tale.
- FOR THE ROASTED ASPARAGUS SPEARS
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Line a cookie sheet with foil, and spray with cooking spray.
- Figure 4 spears per crepe, do your math, and try to lay out your asparagus all on one layer. If you have some overlap, no big deal. Reserve 7-8 stalks for the topping and set those aside for the moment.
- Drizzle oil very lightly over the top of the asparagus, and sprinkle with salt.
- Roast until the asparagus is just crisp-tender, which could be about 10 minutes. Since every oven is different, keep your eyes on it.
- FOR THE ASPARAGUS TOPPING
- Slice your reserved asparagus into about ¼ inch pieces, and sauté in a skillet over medium high heat (use butter or oil in the pan) until just crisp-tender. Set aside.
- TO GET THE SHOW ON THE ROAD
- Lay out a crepe, then spoon about 1 tablespoon of the cheese fondue sauce down the center. Lay four asparagus spears, side by side, then sprinkle about a tablespoon of grated cheese on top of them.
- Roll up the crepe by tucking the two ends under – no need to really ‘roll it up’.
- Lay the crepe down in a 13x9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Continue with each crepe until your dish is full (that was about 6 crepes by the way I did it).
- Drizzle with some of the remaining sauce, then sprinkle with more cheese.
- Scatter the diced asparagus over the top of everything and bake for only about 15 minutes, or until cheese looks bubbly. Remember: everything is already cooked so no need to overdo this part.
- And now all there is to do is stand back because a herd of hungry crepe eaters will be taking over your kitchen!!