Crepes seem to be missing from most restaurant menus these days, and they have all but disappeared from the home cooking scene. I recently enjoyed some delicious crepes at Thyme, a Chicago-area restaurant run by John Bubala. Thyme’s menu is dominated by seafood infused with the herb thyme, but it was the the crepes that took my attention.
Crepes are easier to make than you might think. They can be made ahead and frozen, so last-minute detail is minimal. With well-flavored fillings, they are really pleasing, almost irresistible.
It’s important to have a 10-inch nonstick pan for cooking them.
These recipes will inspire other ideas; really good leftovers--vegetable, chicken and seafood--make a great beginning. Keep some crepes in the freezer for easy access.
Combine clarified butter and flour in saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until flour taste is gone, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Bring milk to boil. Whisking constantly, add hot milk to flour mixture; continue whisking until smooth. Put saucepan over low heat. Simmer until smooth and thick, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove sauce from heat. Stir in cheese and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning; mixture should be well seasoned. Sauce will be thick.
Crab and shrimp filling
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add green onion and onion. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add crab meat and shrimp. Stir mixture. When warm, add all but 3/4 cup Bechamel Sauce. Mix well. Heat through. (Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered airtight.)
Lay 2 crepes at a time on work surface. Spoon about 1/3 cup warm Crab and Shrimp Filling over one half of each. Fold in half to close. Place crepes side by side on greased baking sheets. Repeat with remaining crepes. Spoon remaining Bechamel Sauce over crepes, dividing evenly. (Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.)
Tent with foil and bake at 350 degrees until warm, about 10 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 2 to 5 minutes more until sauce is bubbling. (Single servings can be reheated in microwave oven). Garnish with parsley and nutmeg. Serve warm.
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