One of my favorite things about Parisian grocery stores is the packaged crêpes in the refrigerated section. These are a lifesaver in my house, because while I love to make my own crêpes, my daughter requests them much more frequently than I’m able to oblige. And, mon dieu, imagine my despair when we moved into our new apartment in Boulogne only to find there is no crêpe pan among the cooking equipment.
To be honest, while it’s a lovely modern kitchen, there’s not much equipment to speak of at all: a few pots and pans, a few utensils, and no chef’s knife. There’s a bread knife, bien sûr, but otherwise I’m chopping with a tiny paring knife. (Don’t worry folks, there are sufficient wine and champagne glasses, and 20 each of dessert plates and espresso cups. ????) I’m not quite sure how the requirements for a fully-equipped rental kitchen were determined, but they were not made with a good cook in mind.
Side note: when we made it to the apartment on Thursday (11 bags, 2 kids, and 1 dog in tow, exhausted after an overnight flight), an inspector arrived to take inventory of the apartment. For almost 2 hours, he painstakingly opened every door and drawer and took pictures of the contents. Why this could not have been done before we arrived, I have no idea. As to how it could possibly have taken 30 minutes to photograph the aforementioned meager kitchen provisions, I can only say that the gentleman was quite thorough, and I gritted my teeth and took deep yogic breaths.
But I digress. Crêpes! We have now been in France for 6 days, and it is possible that my younger daughter has averaged 3 crêpes per day. She is in crêpe heaven. Most of the time, these crêpes are slathered with Nutella and whipped cream, and rolled or folded to her liking. They scored me immediate points with friends who came to visit with 6- and 8-year-old children. I just take them out of the fridge or freezer (Picard has some adorable tiny ones), pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, and then fill them. A perfect snack, and moms across the U.S. are really missing out on this one.
The true beauty of crêpes, though, is that they can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. I love to fill them with dinner leftovers or make savory fillings like my Creamy Dijon Chicken and Mushroom Crêpes. The beautiful tomatoes at the market by our apartment had me thinking of a caprese salad, but I wanted something a little more substantial for lunch. Why not change the fresh basil to pesto, and add a crêpe? Voilà, this crêpe recipe was born. If you don’t have access to pre-made crêpes (they do exist in the U.S., and can often be found at Whole Foods Market), making crêpes at home is easy. Check out my Nutella Crêpes recipe for details.
How do I make Caprese Crêpes?
Once you have your crêpes, this is a no-cook crêpe recipe that really just involves assembly. So you can make it exactly how you like. Prep your ingredients first: slice tomatoes (cherry tomatoes or regular-sized tomatoes are both fine) and a ball of fresh mozzarella.
Then lay out your crêpe on a cutting board and smear it with a thin layer of pesto. Arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella slices one-by-one, overlapping each slightly. You’ll want to put them on one half of the crêpe. Then fold the empty half of the crêpe over the top.
If you have cherry tomatoes and small mozzarella balls, you can arrange them near one edge of the crêpe and roll up when you are done. Fresh basil makes a lovely garnish.
Are crêpes healthy?
On their own, crêpes are not particularly healthy or unhealthy. They are typically made with eggs, flour, milk, and butter. In fact, the ingredients are almost the same as a traditional pancake, though pancakes use baking powder as a leavener and always include sugar. In France, savory crêpes are often made with buckwheat flour, which is high in fiber, protein, iron, and zinc, and significantly healthier than all-purpose flour. Sweet crêpes typically use all-purpose flour, and often include sugar in the crêpe batter—of course, if you do that, your crêpes will be higher in calories.
Crêpes are so thin that what you use to fill your crêpe is really what matters: vegetable and egg fillings can be quite good for you; nutella and whipped cream, not so much.
Can crêpes be frozen?
Yes! Unfilled crêpes take very nicely to freezing. Just separate them with squares of wax paper or parchment paper and put them in a ziploc freezer bag. I wouldn’t recommend freezing filled crêpes.
Are crêpes French?
Mais, bien sûr! Crêpes originated in the 13th century in Brittany, a region in the northwest of France. They were invented after buckwheat was brought to the region by the Crusades. Today in France, buckwheat flour is commonly used for savory crêpes, also known as galettes, while white flour is used for sweet crêpes. Buckwheat not a grain, and so crêpes made just from buckwheat flour are gluten-free and can be enjoyed by people with gluten allergy or intolerance.
- 2-3 tomatoes, about 1 lb. total
- 2 balls of fresh mozzarella (bocconcini-size)
- 4 large crêpes or 8 small ones
- 4 T. pesto
- basil leaves, for garnish
- Slice tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
- If you are starting with refrigerated crêpes, put them on a plate and microwave them on medium-high for about 30 seconds, flipping them over at 15 seconds.
- Lay out a crêpe on a cutting board and smear it with 1 tablespoon of pesto (a thin layer).
- Arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices one-by-one, overlapping each slightly, on one half of the crêpe. Then fold the empty half of the crêpe over the top.
- Repeat for the rest of your crepes and ingredients.
- Add fresh basil on top for a garnish, if desired.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 603 Total Fat: 19g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 79mg Sodium: 808mg Carbohydrates: 100g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 12g Sugar: 21g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 18g