Ten years ago I visited France. At the time, I wasn’t into food quite like I am now and I missed out on a lot of the culinary masterpieces that France has to offer. Sure we ate some delicious tartlets and pastries, charcuterie, bread and an abundance of cheeses. We ate crepes from street vendors, picnic-ed in le Jardin des Tuileries, but only ate one authentically French dinner in a quaint cafe with tables that spilled onto the sidewalk. The meal I ate there (a delicious chicken crepe with asparagus) stuck with me, yet not once have I tried to replicate it even though I drew it in my sketchbook and took copious notes about the dish.
A few weeks ago I stumbled across a Pinterest board that was full of ideas for crepes, both savory and sweet. That meal from all of those years ago crept back into my consciousness. I found myself wanting to recreate the dish. So…I did. It was amazing!
Chicken Ricotta Crepes with Asparagus and Lemon Butter Sauce
8 crepes (recipe below)
2 1/2 cups shredded chicken (about 2 large breasts)
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (divided, plus extra for garnish)
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used basil, thyme and rosemary)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tbs. Butter
1 Bundle of Asparagus
Chicken Stock (about 3/4 cup)
Zest of one Lemon
Boil the chicken breast in water until cooked through. Allow to cool slightly and then shred the chicken following my super easy shredding method found here.
Preheat the oven to 425˚ and lightly butter the bottom and sides of a casserole dish.
In a bowl, combine the chicken, ricotta cheese, 3/4 cups of parmesean, about 3 tbs. of herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Evenly divide the mixture between the 8 crepes. Carefully roll up each crepe (crepes can be delicate) and place them seam side down in the casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes or until the filling is hot. Note: if you prepared your chicken in advance and refrigerated it, it may take longer than 15 minutes.
In a medium skillet melt 3 Tbs. of butter. Thinly slice the shallot and cook until tender. Chop the asparagus into bit sized pieces and add to the skillet, cooking until tender but not mushy. Add the chicken stock, the remaining herbs and the lemon zest. Allow this to simmer for several minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
To serve place the crepe onto a plate and spoon over a generous portion of the asparagus sauce. Serve with roasted potatoes and a spring mix salad with balsamic vinaigrette for a delicious meal.
Making the Crepes
Crepes are amazingly delicious and although slightly time consuming (you can only cook one at a time) are relatively easy to make. If you want a quality crepe you need to use quality ingredients. I love to use my farm fresh free range chicken eggs from the beautiful Buff Orpington chickens I have roaming around my yard. If you don’t have farm fresh eggs, my favorite store bought eggs are from Great Day Farms and are available at Walmart. I also think real butter and whole milk give these crepes a luxurious taste.
2 Tbs. Melted butter (slightly cooled)
1 Tbs. Sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/3 cups Whole Milk
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend over low to medium speed until you have no lumps. The batter should be very thin and pourable. If it is too thick you can add additional milk one tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistancy.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat (no fancy crepe pan necessary). Add a bit of butter to coat the pan. Gently pour a small amount of batter into the pan and swirl the pan to spread out the batter. You want it to be very thin. Cook for about 30 to 60 seconds and then carefully flip the crepe with a spatula. Cook about 30 seconds more on the second side and then stack on a plate. continue cooking until you have finished all of the crepes. This recipe make about 12-14 crepes. Enough for the dinner above and a few leftover for dessert!
Nutella Crepes with Strawberries
2 Crepes per person
1 pint of Strawberries
2 Tbs. Sugar
1 Tbs. Orange Flavored Liquor such as Triple Sec
Slice one pint of strawberries and toss with sugar and Triple Sec. Allow to set at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Smear 2 crepes with Nutella. Warm slightly in a skillet and place on a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with a large spoonful of sliced strawberries.