Crepes meet many demands for a family meal.
Whenever I find something I can make ahead in large quantities, freeze, then use at moment's notice for a variety of meals, as Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing."
Hence my love of crêpes. I can whip up the batter in a blender and make a couple of dozen without too much trouble, freeze them and pull them out to be filled with whatever I have on hand. What could be better?
While there's nothing new about crêpes -- they've been making them in France for hundreds of years -- they haven't appeared to make many inroads into the American home cook's repertoire. I think it's because they seem like something difficult, or reserved for special occasions, when really they're just thin pancakes.
A memorable meal
My first experience with crêpes was as a young girl. My family took a trip to New Orleans and for one special evening in 1976 we had dinner at the famous restaurant Antoine's. We went there with my grandma, who had been to there to eat when she was a young woman during the 1920s. I will never forget how the memory of the food and the place made my grandma teary-eyed, something I rarely saw happen to my sweet, but no-nonsense grandmother. Funny how food, mixed with memories, can bring on that kind of emotion.
At the end of the meal we ordered Crêpes Suzette, which consisted of a crêpe sauced with caramelized sugar, butter, orange juice and orange liqueur, served flambé. What impressed my 11-year-old sensibilities the most was not the flavor -- it was too boozy for my young palate -- but the fact that the waiter made the entire dish tableside.
Now, as a mother of three boys, we've been enjoying crêpes in countless ways over the years. They're perfect wrapped around an endless assortment of savory and sweet fillings, from sautéed vegetables with a sprinkling of cheese, to a smear of Nutella with strawberries and bananas.
One of our favorite crêpe meals is made with ham and cheese and topped off with an egg. This is a popular dish in France that makes perfect sense for any busy household. If the crêpes are done ahead, the whole dish can be made in a matter of minutes and is lovely served alongside a simple salad.
With spring in full swing, this is a great light dish that can take full advantage of your imagination.