Moving from season to season through the sections in the book, Mullen repeatedly mentions the provenance of ingredients. He refers to “good eggs,” “good fish,” etc., and that means they’ve been well-raised, are sustainable, and are environmentally safe foods. Regarding good fish, choices like sardines, trout, salmon, and anchovies are both environmentally safe and high in omega-3s, and that’s why they are hero foods. As for choosing fruits, for him, it’s not enough that berries are good for you. He’s more interested in berries when they’re in season and picked at the height of ripeness. When fruits are picked fully ripe, they have a chance to develop more nutrient density than when picked early for distant shipping. Of course, these well-chosen, fresh ingredients also happen to taste better than others. In keeping with the theme of the book, I wanted to use some locally grown blueberries I had just received from my CSA. In the berries chapter, there’s a pretty stacked cake made with crepes, layered with sweetened yogurt, and topped with berries. It’s shown with raspberries, but any fresh berries would be great here. It has tangy flavor from buttermilk in the crepe batter, and the yogurt spread between stacked crepes was sweet from honey and spiced with freshly ground black pepper. You can taste as you add the pepper to decide how much you prefer, and it’s a surprisingly good match with berries.
I know I’ll be flipping back through this book often for recipes like the Five-Minute Eggs with Romesco, the Salt-Baked Carrots and Beets, the Salbitxada sauce for grilled vegetables, the Pickled Plums, the Line-Caught Atlantic Cod with Picada, and the Autumn Squash Salad. I’ll be eating lots of healthy things with these dishes, and I know it will be great-tasting food.
Blueberries and Yogurt with Buttermilk Crepes
Recipe re-printed from Seamus Mullen's Hero Food by Seamus Mullen/Andrews McMeel Publishing.
(Note: this is Raspberries and Yogurt with Buttermilk Crepes in the book.)
Most people think of crepes as breakfast food, but I prefer a savory breakfast. The tart yogurt filling and the buttermilk in the batter balance really well with the sweet raspberries (or blueberries).
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons clarified butter
Zest of 3 lemons
1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh blueberries
Sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar
Mix together the flour, granulated sugar, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, buttermilk, 3 tablespoons of the clarified butter, and the zest of 1 lemon. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk into a nice, thin batter. If the batter seems too thick, add a bit more buttermilk.
Heat a crepe pan or 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the pan with butter. Add about 2 tablespoons batter, lift the pan and roll the batter around to create a thin, even layer. Once the crepe starts to form little holes, bubble a bit, and begins to turn golden brown, it’s ready to turn. With a spatula, carefully flip the crepe over and cook another 30 seconds. Remove the crêpe to a large plate and repeat until you’ve used all the batter, making about 10 crepes.
In a small bowl mix together the remaining zest, yogurt, honey, and pepper. Place one crepe on a large plate, smear on a thin layer of yogurt, and top with another crepe. Repeat until you’ve layered all the crepes into a beautiful cake. Top with raspberries and confectioners’ sugar.
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