Asparagus, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Crepes

These yummy, beautiful crepes can be served as an appetizer, a beautiful side dish or main course for a light meal. Have you ever wrapped asparagus in slices of ham? This is similar, only better. I love the flavor of Prosciutto, don’t you? asparagus tunnelAnything wrapped in Prosciutto is great. Prosciutto adds that salty and flavorful kick. In the summer, I adore Prosciutto wrapped slices of melon. As for vegetables, asparagus is the perfect pairing with thin slices of Prosciutto. I know, asparagus is hardly a winter crop, but then that’s the beauty of foods grown ’round the world – with the exception of your local farmer’s markets, the mega stores have fresh asparagus even in winter. Some farmers grown asparagus in mini-tunnels, increasing the harvest time from spring to nearly year round. This type of farming is especially prominent in England, where the harvest season is from February to November. Not bad for a typical “spring” crop.

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Chicken Florentine Crêpes

I have been wanting to try my hand at Chicken Florentine Crêpes for a while now – ever since I first tasted them at The Crêpe Escape a few years back. Truth be told, I am a sucker when it comes to Crêpes. I adore them – stuffed with savory ingredients, or as a dessert treat. Kiddo and I have been known to scarf down a few freshly prepared Crêpes with nothing more than sweet butter and a dusting of powdered sugar. Our love affair with Crêpes stems from our days of traveling abroad. Oh how the French have mastered Crêpes and Croissant!

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Beef Stroganoff Stuffed Crêpes

While this yummy rendition of a basic Ground Beef Stroganoff wrapped in a delicate crêpe might not truly be a French dish, the whole crêpe thing definitely is a French creation. I adore crêpes as an alternative to their heavier cousin, the pancake (which might explain why I love Irish Pancakes, the lovechild of an omelette and a crêpe). Oh the beauty of warm crêpes with a little melted butter, dusted with powdered sugar and served with wild berry preserves! Just thinking about them and I’m in heaven.

I know I’ve talked about Brother Dear in the past. He was (and is) my hero in so many ways. His was a gentle soul. When Brother Dear was going through his lengthy recovery after being fitted with an artificial heart pump, my sisters and I enjoyed taking a break from the hospital food by dining at a lovely little bistro ideally locate near the hospital (not wanting to venture too far). The Crêpe Escape was truly created as an escape from the reality of life. There was a three-dimensional mural forest that climbed the walls and across the sky-colored ceiling. They served up some of the most delicious crêpes, filled with all sorts of delightful things. One of my favorites was a savory crêpe filled with Chicken Florentine. (A posting for another day – I’m still playing around with the filling). Usually when I struggle to recreate a dish I’ve enjoyed in a restaurant, I’ll sample the restaurant’s offering a few times to get it right. Unfortunately, The Crêpe Escape was devoured by the flames of a kitchen fire a few years ago. Now my Chicken Florentine Crêpes are a work in progress, going only by memory.

Some people are afraid of crêpes; feeling intimidated by the prospect of attempting them because crêpes are such temperamental creatures. There are just a few basics to remember – blend batter until smooth; let rest for gluten to do their thing, and have a good sauté pan that maintains an evenly heated bottom.  I have an electric crêpe pan that maintains a nice, constant temperature. It even has a little light to let me know when to add the batter – dummy proof you might say. Way back in the olden (snicker) days when I made crêpes at least once a week (usually for desserts); it was worth the investment. These days my Crêpe pan collects dust more than it gets used, still it is nice to have. For larger crêpes; I need to rely on a good pan. The biggest issue when making crêpes is heat – even heat is the key. Let the crêpe dry before flipping and you should be good to go. And don’t be discouraged if the first crêpe is a flop – they almost always are. Simply step back, examine the flop and adjust accordingly. I’m sure the second crêpe will be a keeper!

Beef Stroganoff Crêpe
Ingredients – Crêpe
2 eggs
1-1/3 cup milk
2 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Beat eggs and place in a blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Pour batter through a sieve set over a bowl. Cover and refrigerate batter for an hour to allow gluten to rest. (Note: batter may rest up to 1 day).

Using a small, heavy bottom stainless steel pan (or a crêpe pan), slowly heat pan until reaching medium to medium-high. (Different pans will heat differently – it may be necessary to make adjustments after the first crêpe is cooked. The pan must be hot enough that the crêpe won’t stick, but not too hot that it burns).

Lightly coat pan with a little butter for the first crêpe. (The best way to do this is to unwrap one end of a stick of butter, swirl stick in the bottom and up the sides. A LIGHT coating of butter is all you need).

Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup batter to the bottom of the pan.(A 6″pan will take about 1/4 cup, 8″ pan no more than 1/2 cup). Tilt and swirl pan to coat bottom with batter. Cook crêpe for about 2 minutes or until lightly brown and dry – the surface will no longer appear shiny and the edges just beginning to brown. Carefully flip crêpe to cook the other side for about a minute. Don’t worry if the first crêpe is buttery and a little crisp – consider this your test crêpe and adjust time and temperature accordingly. (Sometimes my first two or three are a little “off” – they might not be the prettiest crêpes around, but they taste just fine).

Continue to cook each crêpe, buttering the pan with a quick swipe after about 4 crêpes.

Ingredients – Stroganoff Filling
1 lb lean ground beef
½ cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c chopped fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
1 (10-¾ oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
¾ cup sour cream
additional sour cream and chopped chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside until ready to use.

In a large, nonstick skillet, brown the beef, onion, garlic, and mushrooms, until the meat is no longer pink. Drain meat mixture of juices.

Add the salt, pepper, paprika, and mushroom soup. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes or until warm and thick. Remove from heat and add the sour cream.

Divide filing among the crêpe (recipe above), spooning into crêpe while leaving enough of the crêpe edge closest to exposed to fold over and tuck slightly under the filling. This will get your roll started. Gently roll crêpe away from you, creating a tightly rolled crêpe that will hold its shape. Place seam-side down in the prepared casserole dish. Repeat until all the crêpes have been filled.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or heated through.

Serve with additional dollops of sour cream and a sprinkling of chives for garnish.

Side suggestion: Pan Seared Asparagus