In Spain it was tapas. In Italy it was gelato. Here in France I’ve been hooked on crepes. I should have known this would happen, because it always happens. I have a predisposition to eating sweets with the most severe form of Dionysian indulgence. It’s gotten so bad that the last time I went to the doctor I found out my blood type is now chocolate.
My favorite creperie is literally across the street from where I’m living, taunting me daily. I know, we live in an age where the term “literally” has fallen victim to hyperbole, but this time I actually mean it. LITERALLY. ACROSS. THE STREET. Some nights I hang out my widow and stare at it wistfully, if not angrily, because who can sleep when there are crepes so close by? I wonder if dogs get angry about these kinds of things. Dogs can’t really have crepes.
Once a day I amble down to the creperie for my banana nutella fix where, in spite of missing four of his most prominent teeth, the vendor greets me with a semi-toothy smile of recognition. He knows what I’m there for.
Crepes are pancakes gone right. Spawned from Brittany in the north of France, they are made from a thin silky batter of egg, milk and flour. It’s then poured onto a hot skillet and cooked into thin round veils of pastry that you can roll around whatever filling you choose, whether sweet or savory. Go crazy! The world is your crepe, or whatever.
Today on my way down, a disheveled homeless man I pass daily was flashing his bare testicles through the zipper of his ratty pants, showcasing the magic that is Paris. His dog looked up at me with weepy eyes, possibly wondering when Jesus was coming to collect him.
You never know what you’ll run into here, and I’m still trying to decide whether that’s good or bad.
MACERATED STRAWBERRY-BASIL CREPES
[print_this]Recipe: Macerated Strawberry-Basil Crepes
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 5 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
For the Crepes
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- pinch of salt
For the Macerated Strawberries with Basil
- 1 lb strawberries
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 4 basil leaves prepared into a chiffonade (can be substituted with mint)
- 1 tbsp red wine (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups crème fraiche (or Greek yogurt)
To make the Crepes
- Combine melted butter and flour first and then slowly whisk in milk and butter ensuring the flour is completely incorporated with no lumps. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until the batter has a smooth consistency.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour
- Heat a very lightly greased nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat (depending upon your range top settings) and add one ladleful of batter to the heated pan, swirling the batter around the pan without using a spatula or spoon, ensuring that it is round and uniform thickness throughout.
- Heat until lightly browned, about 1 minute and then flip to finish.
- Move to a plate, add two to three tablespoons crème fraiche and two tablespoons macerated strawberries (recipe follows), close and serve warm or cold.
To make the Macerated Strawberry-Basil mixture
- Hull strawberries and then cut in half or in quarters lengthwise. Combine with sugar, basil chiffonade, and red wine (if using) and allow to sit for 30 minutes but no longer than 45 minutes.
- Strain strawberries but reserve macerated juices for drizzling over the crepes.