Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Buckwheat Crepes with Gruyere, Sage, and Sunny-Side-Up Egg

I’ve never been to Buvette, but I’ve decided I want to live there or at least right upstairs. It’s a dreamy thought to imagine waking up to breakfast there every morning. And, I'm not picky. I would live at either the New York City or Paris location. After reading a review copy I received of the new book, Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food, by Jody Williams, it’s clear that there’s more to this restaurant than just the lovely food. There’s a sense of hospitality that runs through the uncomplicated but perfectly prepared things chosen for the menu, the way they’re served on antique silver trays and pedestals, and the care in all those details. Just reading about the coffees and teas convinced me I would be quite comfortable here. From classic cappuccinos, lattes, and the Bicerin which is espresso with shaved bittersweet chocolate melted into it with barely whipped cream on top to the Russian samovar used to keep hot water at the ready for teas and tisanes, every aspect of the service has been considered to set the right mood. That mood seems to be unfussy but with a sense that things have been made special. For breakfast, I’d want the custardy Oeufs Brouilles served with smoked salmon and creme fraiche or the Asparagus Milanese with eggs and Parmigiano-Reggiano. The menu is equally influenced by French and Italian cuisine. For lunch, the Pan Bagnat with diced bell pepper, cucumber, and fennel would be my choice or maybe the Carciofi alla Romana. The list of Aperitifs and Cocktails is classic and edited including Lillet, a perfect Martini, Pimm’s Cup, and a Manhattan. And, there are snacks to go with the drinks like freshly made Rosemary Potato Chips, Marinated Olives with Orange Zest and Red Chili, and Tartinettes and Crostini with various toppings. For dinner, there’s Scallops with Brown Butter and Capers, simply perfect Poulet Roti, and a few options for Risotto. Dessert might be Tarte Tatin or Espresso Granita topped with whipped cream. Yes, I would be quite happy living here. 

Every page in the book has something I want to try, but first, I had to face my ongoing fear of crepes. There’s something about thin crepe batter and its refusal to spread itself into a nice circle in my pan that puts the fear in me every time. I’ve realized while making crepes that my stove isn’t perfectly level. The batter always runs more to the back of the pan. So, that’s one problem. And, I don’t seem to have the skill to swirl the pan in a way that makes pretty crepes. I still need more practice. Some actually from circles, and others look more like state shapes like Michigan or New York. I made the Buckwheat Crepe variation and left the batter to rest in the refrigerator overnight. Using the crepes I managed to make into proper circles, I filled them with grated Gruyere, sage leaves from my garden, and sunny-side-up eggs. Each crepe was folded around the fillings and placed on a baking sheet. The filled crepes were baked for about ten minutes until the edges were crisp and the cheese had melted. It was a rich and delicious dish for brunch. 

Some other suggestions for serving crepes were: to spread them with butter, sprinkle with sugar, squeeze on some lemon juice, and roll them and top with powdered sugar; or to julienne an apple and saute in butter with walnuts, cinnamon, and sugar and then add crepes cut into ribbons and cook until crisp. Until I get a chance to see about moving into Buvette, I’ll keep trying to create the experience at home. 

Excerpted from the book Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food by Jody Williams. © 2014 by Jody Williams. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved. 

[Makes a generous pint of batter; about a dozen 8-inch crêpes] 

3⁄4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 
Pinch coarse salt 
2 large eggs 
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for cooking the crepes 
1 1⁄4 cups whole milk 

Directions: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and eggs to make a paste. Whisk in the butter. Slowly whisk in the milk, being sure to take your time so that you avoid lumps. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or transfer the batter to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days before cooking. 

Once the batter has rested, heat up a slick of butter in a small skillet, preferably nonstick (if not, just use more butter!) over medium heat. Pour in just a little less than 1⁄4 cup of batter. Tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the batter finds itself in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Cook the crepe until the bottom is just golden brown, about 1 1⁄2 minutes, loosen the edges with a spatula, and turn the crepe. Cook until it’s nicely browned on the opposite side, about 1 minute more. Transfer the crepe to a warm plate and fill it or garnish it however you’d like. Repeat the process until you’ve used up all of the batter. 

Buckwheat Crepes: 
Prepare the Crepes as directed, but substitute 1/4 cup buckwheat flour for 1/4 cup of the unbleached all-purpose flour. Fill each crepe with a slice of good ham (prosciutto cotto if you can find it), a small handful of grated Gruyere, or a slice of Brie or other soft cheese (Epoisses is really lovely here), and a sage leaf and fold the crepe into quarters. Transfer the filled crepes to a buttered baking dish and bake in a 400 degree F oven until crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes. These can also happily get a sunny-side-up egg tucked inside as well. 

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  1. A tasty combination and wonderful recipe!



  2. I definitely have a little fear of crepes, too, but these look excellent!

  3. ...and what's wrong with Michigan-shaped crepes? :)

    It looks very decadent! I make plain crepes and always eat the first few 'defective' ones.
    But I've never worked with buckwheat flour, so I wonder how it tastes.

  4. Oh Lisa, I can't wait to try these! I've been making my grandfather's buckwheat pancakes for many years and last year, made some buckwheat scones. Love buckwheat flour. So under-used. Your crepes look awesome!

  5. Did the comment come through now? Sorry, I seem to be having some weird issues everytime I want to post a comment so was wondering if you get anything?

  6. Hi Lisa!

    I think your crepes look great! You should see when I try to make crepes. Not a laughing matter at all, lol...

    I love the way you have introduced us to this book. It sounds dreamy:) You've done a wonderful job with the recipe and the combination of flavors is more than enticing. Thank you so much for sharing...

  7. You always introduce me to the most interesting cookbooks! I'll have to check this one out.
    And for the record, a crepe shaped like Michigan is just as delicious as a symmetrical one.

  8. A perfect breakfast! It looks very tasty.

  9. Such a lovely photo, making the recipe all the more alluring! I tend to fill my crepes with sweet fillings or the family favorite of chicken and asparagus. Melty cheese, safe and a warm egg are very enticing!

  10. I used to have problems with crepes, too. One trick to getting the proper amount of batter is to add just a bit too much to the pan, swirl to cover the bottom (easy if there's too much batter), and then pour out the extra. The crepes will have a little "tail" from where you pour out the batter, but if you make a couple of dozen all at once (they freeze well) you'll soon learn exactly how much batter you need for your pan. Anyway, lovely recipe, and the cookbook sounds so interesting. Thanks.

  11. This would be amazing for dinner too... I don't know why I don't make crepes more often since we love it so much, particularly the buckwheat type which I think is the best

    I must set crepes as a higher priority in my cooking options....

  12. i haven't tried my hand at making crepes yet, but i like the idea of a savory version quite a bit. any time a runny egg yolk is involved, i'm game. :)

  13. I love buckwheat crepes - especially with egg! Love the sage & gruyere combination. Now I'm hungry for lunch!

  14. I love how you're not picky - Paris or New York will do! Your crepes look gorgeous and I love the buckwheat crepes filled with breakfast eggs. I don't make crepes as I don't have a crepe pan. My mother had one when I was growing up that was cast iron with a wooden red handle. Whatever did she do with it??? xx

  15. I don't think you have to fear crepes any longer...yours look perfect! And now I'm craving sauteed apples with crispy crepe ribbons...wow!!!

  16. See, I have a fear of crêpes too but I am happily married to a man who has been making perfect crêpes since he was a teen. But I should try making them, I really should. I have to try this recipe... they look perfect!

  17. Wow, food served in silverware! Even I have overcome the fear of making crepes by practicing crepe-making more and more. This recipe sounds perfect!

  18. I'm collecting cooking books and the Buvette book is next on my list.
    The buckwheat crepes look so appetizing, I'm going to prepare them for our next Sunday breakfast.

  19. I'm so bad at making crepes! I need to try them again!!

  20. such a gorgeous crepe and scrumptious filling...never thought of filling crepes with sunny side up....will make brunch days so much sunnier...thanks :-)

  21. These crepes look like they're made out of happiness and magic! Your pictures have me swooning!

  22. Those crepes look deliciously thin and what a great filling for a satisfying meal.


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