Friday, July 15, 2011

Fillings for Ricotta Spelt Crepes

As previously mentioned, the first crepe in a batch always looks like crap. I ate it. It was delicious. I considered eating the rest of the crepes unfilled. But in case my guests were not so inclined, we made some fillings to make the crepes more civilized.

First there were chopped fresh tomatoes with basil. We all agreed that the tomatoes accented the delicate flavor of the crepes. We also discovered that a little leftover ricotta went beautifully with the tomatoes inside the crepes.

I also made a mushroom spinach filling. I wanted to make Julia Child's mushrooms (which are stewed in butter and port until they're browned and fragrant), but I didn't think stewing spinach in port for eight minutes sounded like a good idea. Instead, I sauteed the mushrooms (I used creminis, but I think any kind of mushrooms or mix of wild mushrooms would be delicious) and shallots and blanched the spinach. When the mushrooms had given up most of their liquid, I added a large splash of port and let it cook mostly off before stirring in the spinach. The result was that the mixture was perfumed with port while still retaining all the flavors of its original components. I thought it was absolutely delicious, but it sang out a little louder than the crepes. I didn't mind, the variety was nice. And the leftovers work really well in eggs the next day.

Spinach Mushroom Crepe Filling
Serves Six

1 lb. fresh spinach, washed
10 oz cremini mushrooms
3 shallots*
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsps port (or more to taste)

1. Fill a large pot half full of water and lightly salt. Bring to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the mushrooms and shallots.
2. With a damp paper towel, lightly wipe dirt off the caps of the mushrooms. Trim the stems if the ends look gross. Slice mushrooms into 1/4 inch slices.
3. Peel shallots and slice into 1/4 inch rings.
4. When the water boils, dump spinach into the pot and poke it with tongs or a wooden spoon until all the spinach has been submerged, about 10 seconds. Drain spinach in a colander, squeezing to remove excess moisture. When the spinach is well drained, transfer it to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
5. Heat a medium or large skillet over medium high heat. Add the butter and olive oil. When the butter melts, add mushrooms and shallots.
6. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have given up their liquid and most of the liquid has evaporated and the shallots are soft. Add the port (you can add a little more if you really like port) and allow the alcohol to cook off and most of the liquid to reduce.
7. Add spinach to the pan and stir until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

*I always get confused when recipes call for x number of shallots. Do they mean whole shallots? Do they mean individual heads? So, just to be clear, I used three largeish whole shallots, which was about 6 or 7 individual heads. You can always use more or fewer shallots, depending on your onion preferences.

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