Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ham, Asparagus, and Swiss Cheese Crepes

Crepes are so fun, why don't I make them more often?! The filling options are endless - these have a savory filling and are great for brunch or dinner and make use of fresh asparagus which is at it's peak right now.

I served these crepes with their recommended side - "fresh fruit with lime gastrique". Ignore the pretentious title of the recipe. Basically, it's chopped fruit that has been tossed with a lime juice and sugar slurry and allowed to soak for 15 minutes. I used bananas, mango, strawberries, and kiwi fruit. If you have about 4 cups of fruit total, you'll want to mix 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 tablespoon sugar for your sauce. Or skip the sauce altogether and just eat plain fresh fruit with your crepes. Either way, it's more fun to serve it in a fancy glass.

Not related to crepes at all, but I discovered a great make-ahead lunch idea that I wanted to share. One Sunday, I bought a bunch of veggies: broccoli, red bell peppers, a head of red cabbage, and a bunch of carrots. I chopped them all up into bite sized pieces, stored them in the biggest tupperware container I could find, and they sat there in the fridge for two weeks, ready for lunches or whatever I wanted to use them for.

For weekday lunches, I packed a container with about two cups of these raw veggies to work with me, steamed them in the microwave, then either topped them with various things or stirred them into something else. Most days, I had a low carb lunch by topping them with edamame, sunflower seeds, a little shredded cheddar, and a heaping dollop of Yumm sauce. For variety, one day I topped them with leftover homemade nacho cheese sauce (blog post next week!). Another day, I brought a frozen meal (a rare occurrence), a four cheese penne with spinach, with a very creamy sauce. I knew it wouldn't make me feel full on its own (frozen meals never do), so I stirred in some of the steamed veggies to bulk it up. Besides lunches, I also used some of the broccoli and red bell pepper for a weekend omelet.

How else can I use steamed veggies in my lunches? I'd love to get your suggestions!

Basic Crepe Recipe
adapted from Cuisine at Home - April 2009
makes about 10 crepes

Notes: If you are planning on chilling the batter overnight, it's probably better to use the oil rather than the butter because it won't solidify. Remember, the first crepe of the batch is usually total crap, so just know that and don't get discouraged, the other ones will be much better. If nothing else, it's something to munch on while you make the rest.

2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl using a hand mixer on low speed. Scrape sides of bowl, then mix on high for about 10 seconds, or until ingredients are thoroughly combined. It should be about the consistency of heavy cream. Cover and chill for at least one hour or up to 24 hours. This resting time helps relax the gluten in the flour, making the finished product more tender. This also means you don't have to worry as much about over-mixing in the first step like you do with pancakes and other baked goods.

Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. When hot, spray bottom and sides of pan with nonstick cooking spray. Measure out 1/4 cup of the batter, pour into one corner of the skillet, then immediately swirl the pan, tilting it so that the batter covers the bottom as much as possible. You can fill in any holes with more batter. Cook for about 1 minute, until the edges start to turn brown. You will know it's ready to be flipped when you can gently shake the skillet and the whole crepe shifts side-to-side in one piece. To flip, gently lift the crepe using a spatula and your fingers, and flip it. Cook on the other side for about 20-30 seconds. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Continue to cook the remaining crepes, coating the pan with nonstick spray between each one. It also helps to give the batter a quick stir with a whisk before measuring it out when making each crepe.

Ham, Asparagus, and Swiss Cheese Crepes
adapted from Cuisine at Home - April 2009
Makes about 10 crepes and 2 cups of sauce

Notes: These can be made ahead of time - just assemble the crepes but do not bake, cover them in plastic wrap and chill for 2-3 hours. When ready to serve, make the sauce while the crepes bake.

For the crepes:
8 ounce cooked ham, chopped (I bought some ham from the deli and asked them for thick slices, but thin sliced ham would be just fine too)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
Ground black pepper to taste
1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed, cut in half (thin spears are best for this recipe)
10 prepared crepes

For the sauce:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk
1/4 cup stone-ground mustard
Kosher salt and pepper
Chopped fresh chives

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, add the ham, cheese, and pepper and toss to combine. Place 1/4 cup of this mixture plus 4 asparagus halves down the center of each crepe. Roll them up and place them seam side down on the prepared baking sheet (at this point you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake). Bake crepes for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the broth and milk, bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Whisk in the mustard, salt, and pepper and simmer until heated through.

Serve crepes with the sauce, garnish with chives.


  1. yes, they are so fun to make and we love them too. Love that you have used my favourite veggie green asparagus to make the filling. And the creamy dressing sounds just fantastic!

  2. Oh, your crepes look outstanding! Both the filling and sauce look amazing, Robyn!


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