On a wonderful family trip to Paris a few years ago, we ate crepes filled with bananas and Nutella from street vendors. Today, I bought my son a hot dog from a street vendor in Washington, D.C. Not even close.
Since I don't have the wherewithal to open my own crepe cart, I figure the next best thing is to produce great crèpes at home. The fact that they're the world's most versatile ingredient and can be the basis for many a main course or dessert, is simply an added bonus.
Even my son, he of little dietary variety, will eat crepes with something very plain inside (grilled chicken strips, for example). The other night I grilled some boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced them up and used them as a filling for crepes I'd made a few hours earlier. I made a little chicken gravy (roux, chicken broth, a little white wine and salt) to top it all off. A little side salad and voilà -- dinner.
I use the same batter recipe for savory and dessert crepes. I think the fillings and toppings take care of sweetening or umami-ing the dish. But many people add sugar to the batter for dessert crepes. That works too.
Here's my favorite recipe, adapted from the classic New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Usually the first crepe is a throwaway and they get better in succession. Bon appetit!
New Basics Crepes
makes about 12 crepes
1 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor (or blender) and process briefly.
2. With motor running, add the milk, water, eggs and butter and process until smooth.
3. Heat a heavy 7-inch nonstick skillet. Pour in 3 tbsp of batter, then quickly tilt pan to distribute batter evenly. Cook until lightly browned about 30-45 seconds, then flip gently with a spatula and cook about another 15 seconds.
4. Repeat, using all the batter. Stack with waxed paper in between each pancake. These last for 2 days in the refrigerator or a few weeks in the freezer. Fill and re-heat to serve.