Sunday, January 23, 2011

Crepes with Ricotta and Spinach Filling

I am a creature of habit. This means that my weekly menus usually consist of a couple of stir fries, some pastas, and some Indian food. I don't tend to vary much outside of this pattern. So this week, I deliberately tried at least one thing that was not my usual fare.

The answer: savory crepes! I had tried these in Paris, but wasn't terribly thrilled. But these were delicious. It really was a lot like making spinach lasagna but stuffing it all in a crepe instead of layering it between noodles.

Crepes with Ricotta and Spinach Filling
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Ingredients

Crepes
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
6 tbsp water
1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp table salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter melted

Filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic pressed through a garlic press
1 package frozen chopped spinach (10 ounces), thawed and pressed dry (I use paper towels to press out the liquid)
10 oz whole-milk ricotta (1 1/4 cups)
4 oz Gruyère cheese, grated (2 cups)
Pinch ground nutmeg
If desired, several slices baked ham (preferably in 6- to 7-inch rounds) (I actually used Canadian bacon, which I had sitting in my freezer)

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to the top middle position.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Grease a 13 by 9 inch pan.

Filling:
  1. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
  4. Add spinach, ricotta, 1.5 cups Gruyère, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Set aside.

Crepes:
  1. Mix all ingredients (except extra melted butter) in food processor or blender, 3 to 4 seconds.
  2. Cover and chill for at least an hour.
  3. Remove from refrigerator and stir gently.
  4. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the pan with butter.
  5. Pour 1/8 cup (or larger, if desired) onto the skillet. Gently rotate the pan to form the crepe. If you have trouble with this, there are many videos on YouTube to illustrate the technique.
  6. Cook until the batter looks pretty dry.
  7. Gently lift the crepe with your fingers or a spatula. Cook about 30 seconds longer.

Assemble:

  1. One at a time, lay out one crepe.
  2. If using ham, place one ham slice on the crepe.
  3. Spoon 3 tbsp filling into the crepe.
  4. Gentle roll the crepe over the filling.
  5. Place the assembled crepe into the baking pan.
  6. Top with remaining Gruyère cheese.
  7. Cover the pan with foil.
  8. Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately.

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