Tonight's dinner is one of my most favorite things ever to eat... buckwheat crepes. Some people might be intimidated by making crepes, thinking you need one of those fancy crepe maker griddle thingies but all you really need are a couple of nonstick skillets and a few simple ingredients.
Crepes are so versatile, you can fill them with just about anything but tonight we're having mushrooms and goat cheese. They'd be equally good with spinach, smoked ham, or just melty cheese inside topped with an egg sunny-side-up (or 'mirroir' as it's called). I can think of a million ways to deliciousness with these guys.
In France, buckwheat crepes are called 'Galettes de Sarrasin' and hail from Brittany in the northwest region. They're available almost everywhere but the best I've ever had were at the Paris outpost of Cafe Breizh in the Marais. Their galettes are lacy, almost like tuile cookies, slightly earthy from the buckwheat, with crispy edges. My favorite is the 'Normande' with gruyere inside, cured salmon, chives, and creme fraiche on top...omg.
The buckwheat flour gives the crepes a nutty, savory quality and is quite different from the common nutella filled versions of sweet crepes that may come to mind. These crepes are traditionally served with hard cider, also from northwest France. It's not at all sweet but is sparkly and slightly acidic with the true essence of apples. We're having cider tonight which I intend on drinking from little earthenware bowls, just as I remember doing in Paris.
All crepes in my opinion should be served with a healthy piece of salted butter on top, that melts all down them an onto the plate so you can mop it up with the crepes. Tragically I don't have any french Bordier butter around but I'll make do with a good cultured european style butter and a sprinkling of Fleur de Sel from Camargue.
I'm also serving some braised kale alongside. I happen to LOVE kale, especially the dark black kind which is wonderful right now. I also feel better about eating all that butter and cheese with a side of dark greens. I'm not including a recipe since it doesn't really need one but the basic technique is: Saute 1 bunch washed kale, ribs and stems removed, in a little olive oil for 1 minute to briefly wilt. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chile flakes. Add about 1/2 cup stock or water and put a lid on the pan. Simmer covered for 15-20 minutes until the kale is tender and the liquid is absorbed. That's it!
Ok, all this talk of yumminess is making me hungry.... please try this one. You'll be hooked too... I promise!
For the crepes (makes about 8, 10" crepes):
1 1/4 cups Unbleached Flour (I used Spelt)
3/4 cups Buckwheat Flour
1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
5 TB unsalted butter, melted and cooled plus more for skillet
For the filling and serving:
1 1/2 cups sauteed mushrooms (I used a mix of cremini, chanterelle, and shiitake with leeks and herbes de provence)
3 oz Chevre (or other soft, young goat's cheese)
1-2 TB European Style Salted Butter, for serving
Fleur de Sel, for finishing
1) Whisk together the flour, buckwheat flour & salt. Add the eggs and milk and whisk to blend. Drizzle in the melted butter and whisk to combine. The mixture will look like pancake batter. Set aside in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight.
2) After batter has rested, heat a 10" nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add 1 tsp butter and when melted, ladle in about 1/4 cup batter. Swirl around quickly so the batter spreads out to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Cook about 2-3 minutes, until the edges just turn golden. Carefully, with a big spatula pick up the crepe and flip it over, all at once. It should be golden brown on the underside. Sprinkle on a bit of the goat cheese and 2 TB mushroom mixture onto 1/2 of the crepe. Cook about 1-2 minutes more. Then, fold the whole thing in half and then into quarters, so you wind up with a triangular little folded crepe.
3) Place finished crepes on a warm platter, covered loosely with foil until ready to serve. Serve topped with salted butter and a sprinkling of Fleur de Sel.