Julia Child is the inspiration for so many chefs and cooks around the world. These crepes are one of her specialties! Cooked bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, cheese, and herbs plus a light batter to bind them all together are the basic ingredients for this attractive vegetable combination, which is cooked like pancakes.
Serve them with roasts, chops, or broiled chicken, and any leftovers are delicious with cold hors d’oeuvre or on a picnic. They are, in addition, a splendid background for diced poultry, veal, or pork leftovers, which you may include in the mixture; topped with a poached or fried egg and a tomato or cheese sauce, they are an ample main course for informal meals. For 12 4-inch pancakes .
The Crepe Batter ( 3/4 cup )
Either whirl all ingredients in a blender; or place flour in bowl, beat in rest of ingredients, and strain through sieve. Batter should be like heavy cream; if too thick, thin out with drops of milk. You may use it immediately if you have instant-blending flour; otherwise let it rest for an hour at least.
The piperade mixture(1 1/2 cups)
Cook the onions in the oil for 8-10 minutes, or until tender and translucent. Add the peppers and cook another 3-4 minutes to soften slightly. Then add the sliced tomato pulp and garlic; cover pan for several minutes until tomatoes have rendered their juice. Uncover, raise heat, and boil for several minutes, tossing pan by handle to blend ingredients, until liquid as almost completely evaporated. Season carefully to taste, and toss with the herbs.
Cooking the crepes
Blend the cheese into the piperade along with 1/2 cup of the batter. Brush frying pan with oil and set over moderately high heat. When hot but not quite smoking, ladle in 1/4 cup of the crepe mixture as a test. Cook about 2 minutes on one side, until little holes appear through the surface, at which time bottom should be nicely browned. Turn and cook about 1 minute on other side, then remove to a baking sheet. Crepe should just hold together, with only enough batter in the mixture to enrobe the ingredients. Add a little more batter to bowl if you feel it necessary, but too much makes for doughy crepes. Cook the rest of the crepes and arrange on a baking sheets. Just before serving, reheat for 5 minutes or so in a preheated 425 F degree oven.
*Crepes a la Piperade (Pepper, onion, tomato and cheese pancakes). From Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 2 by Julia Child and Simone Beck, page 408.
- 1/3 c flour, preferably "instant blending" (measure by scooping dry-measure cup into flour and leveling off with knife)
- 1 "large" egg
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 1/2 t cooking oil
- 1/3 c milk, plus a little more if needed
- An electric blender, or a bowl, whip, and sieve
- 1 1/2 c onions , sliced
- 3 T olive oil or cooking oil
- 1 1/2 c green bell peppers , sliced
- 3-4 ripe, red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, juiced, and sliced (1 1/2 cups)
- 2-3 large cloves of garlic, mashed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 T fresh parsley, minced
- 1 T fresh basil, minced or 1/2 t of dried oregano
- An 8-inch frying pan with cover
- 5 oz Swiss cheese, cut into 3/8-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
- The piperade turned into a 2-quart bowl
- 1/2 c or more of the crepe batter
- A rubber spatula
- Cooking oil
- A heavy 10-inch frying pan (no-stick recommended)
- A 1/4 cup measure
- 1 or 2 oiled baking sheets
- A pancake turner