Crepes always make me happy. I am happy making them, I am happy eating them. This crepe meal will make you happy. too. If you want to make them gluten free, use buckwheat flour. For vegetarian, swap lentils in for the beef.
For the crepes:
1 cup flour
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup water
3 large eggs, whisked
3 tbsps melted butter
pinch of salt
For the filling:
1 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 can crushed or diced tomatoes, drained of extra liquid
2 cups arugula or baby spinach
For the sauce:
2 cups whole milk
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced into 3 pieces
1 tbsp butter
1 egg yolk
½ cup grated parmesan
To make the crepes, place the flour and salt in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk and water until it is blended smooth. Add the eggs and butter. Heat a crepe pan or skillet over medium high heat. Lightly butter the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, pour 1/4 – 1/3 cup of the batter onto the center of the pan and immediately swirl it so it covers the pan. Let this cook for a minute or two, flip and cook for 30-40 seconds on the other side. Continue this until the batter is gone. One batch will make about 15-20 5ish inch crepes or 8-10 larger. Keep these covered on a baking sheet in the oven at 250 to keep warm.
To make the filling,heat a skillet over medium high heat. Cook the beef, while breaking it up with a spoon, for about 7-8 minutes, until it is almost cooked through. Add the garlic and cook another minute and then the tomato paste. Stirr this together and let cook for a couple of minutes. Add the crushed or diced tomatoes, as well as the pepper, a large pinch of salt, and the oregano. Cook this all together for about 10 minutes. Taste to adjust the seasonings. If it is too “bright” (you will know it when you taste it), add a good drizzle of olive oil and a small pinch of sugar. Stir in the greens to wilt. Keep this on low heat to stay warm while you make the sauce.
For the sauce, heat the milk and garlic in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring it to a bare simmer and keep it there for 3-5 minutes so it cooks down a bit. Stir in the butter. Whisk up the egg yolk in a bowl. Take the garlic out of the milk then very slowly drizzle bits of the milk into the egg yolk, whisking vigorously the whole time. When you have whisked in about half, return the pan with the remaining milk to the burner set to medium. Whisk in the egg/milk mixture. Whisk while you add the parmesan in bits. Keep whisking until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens. Take it off the heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble, place two crepes onto a plate. Fill half of each with the beef mixture, then fold the other half of the crepe on top. Drizzle the sauce over the top. Add more freshly cracked pepper, if you like.
Alternate filling options:
Shrimp and Spinach
Mashed Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions, Toasted Pecans
Chicken and Broccoli
Herby Mushrooms and Goat Cheese
Roasted Red Peppers and White Beans
Chunky Smashed Potatoes with Bacon and Blue Cheese