Veggie Crepes

A much loved basic, this recipe easily proves that crepes are versatile and delicious. The most delicate and refined of pancakes, crepes have earned a sovereign reputation. This savory and elegant dish is a breeze if you prep most of the components in advance. With appealing contrast in color and texture, California fresh asparagus and mushrooms make a tasty filling. Best yet, this savory crepe recipe can be served as a starter, entree or even as a scrumptious breakfast.

Gloden Brown Crepes

A spear on asparagus

At the market, select asparagus spears of similar diameter so that they cook evenly. The veggie's tips should be compactly closed. Trim the ends of the spears, then refrigerate, upright, standing in an inch of water. Cover loosely with plastic or wrap the cut ends in a wet paper towel. Store wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to three days.

For more information, recipes and tips, visit www.calasparagus.com.

California Asparagus and Mushroom Filled Crepes

Crepe ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Additional unsalted butter for frying

Filling Ingredients
1 pound fresh California asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 ounces button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Gruyere cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 savory crepes (purchased or using the recipe that follows)
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese, for topping

Directions:

1. To make crepes: In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt, whisking to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, whisking just the eggs until thoroughly mixed. Slowly and steadily whisk in a little more than half of the milk, while incorporating more and more of the flour from the edges into the batter. 

2. Once you have incorporated all of the flour, whisk in the melted butter and enough of the remaining milk to make a batter the consistency of heavy cream. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring batter to room temperature before proceeding - you may need to add a bit more milk to the batter if it has thickened too much overnight.

3. Heat a traditional, seasoned, steel crepe pan or 8-inch nonstick saute pan over medium high heat. Using a pastry brush or paper towel, brush or wipe the pan with a thin film of melted butter. Add a scant 1/4 cup of batter and immediately rotate the pan, lifting it off the heat, so that the batter swirls and forms a thin even layer over the surface of the pan.

4. Place the pan back on the burner and cook until it just begins to brown underneath and the top surface looks set, about 1 minute. Using the edge of a spatula, loosen the edge of the crepe from the pan and flip (your fingers work best at this point!) Cook just until browned lightly, about 1 minute. Transfer the crepe to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, stacking the crepes directly on top of one another when cooked.

5. To make filling: Bring a large saute pan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus and cook until tender but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to a colander, refresh under cold running water to stop the cooking, and drain well. Set aside.

6. In a medium saute pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until the moisture they release has evaporated and they are golden brown. Set aside.

7. In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 2 minutes.

8. Add the stock and bring to a boil, stirring briskly, and cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add cream and 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese, whisking until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and set aside.

10. To assemble crepes: Place 2 tablespoons of the cheese filling down the center of a crepe and top with a spoonful of the cooked mushrooms. Arrange 3 asparagus spears down the center of the crepe so that the tips extend just beyond the edge of the crepe.

11. Roll up and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining crepes, sauce and filling - the crepes should fit snuggly in the dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of grated Gruyere over the tops of the rolled crepes.

12. Bake, uncovered, until the crepes are warmed through and the cheese has melted, about 12 to 15 minutes. If you prefer a browner top, place under a heated broiler just until golden brown. Serve immediately. Serves 4 (2 crepes per serving).

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