These crepes with brown butter artichoke sauce are easy and tasty. They’re great for lunch or dinner (or really, even brunch)!
Am I correct in feeling that crepes are a much maligned food? I feel like people are scared of them, without need. I’ve written about crepes here, twice (here and here) and even made a video about them-really. Yet, I frequently forget about crepes and don’t make them all that often. Why, I have no idea. Once you get into the rhythm of making them, they are really no big deal, and they are (a) very tasty; and (b) very versatile. You can have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack….whatever.
I started thinking about crepes and knew almost instinctively that I wanted to make an artichoke filling for them. I didn’t know, though, whether to use blue cheese or parmesan for said filling. Overwhelmingly, my Facebook followers chose a creamy filling with parmesan, though while I was standing at the cheese case the Grana Padano caught my eye. What’s funny is that I had never heard of Grana Padano until I started watching Create obsessively, and there’s some maker of Grana Padano cheese that is a sponsor of one or more PBS cooking shows. It has a texture and taste similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano and you can use either one (or use Romano) in this recipe.
The idea for the brown butter béchamel didn’t happen until I was actually melting the butter to make the roux. I had just made these brown butter chocolate chip cookies from Joy the Baker, so I had browned butter on my mind. The bottom line is that browned butter makes everything better, so when it doubt, brown Baby brown! I did not regret this decision….browning the butter just adds a toasty nuttiness to the sauce (well, to pretty much everything) that cannot be done justice in a description.
The only problem with this dish is that it just isn’t….pretty. Beige on beige on a plate. Shallots and parsley give a little color, and that plate, while I’m not sure it “matches” the dish, gives a little pop too….but we didn’t make these to look at, we made them to eat, and eat them we did. They were delicious.
A few notes about the crepes: (1) do NOT try to use a pan larger than 6 inches to make them! They will tear, and you will sweat and come close to crying. Ask me how I know. (2) This recipe makes 12 crepes but you will only use eight for the artichoke filling. My recommendation? Serve the remaining crepes for breakfast or a snack with either Nutella or jam and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Crepes with brown butter artichoke sauce are delicious indeed!
Yield: 4 servings (you may some crepes left over)
15 minPrep Time:
30 minCook Time:
45 minTotal Time:
- 3/4 cups white whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 Large eggs
- 2/3 cups buttermilk
- 1/3 cup water
- unsalted butter (for frying)
- 6 tablespoons buttwe (unsalted)
- 1 shallot (thinly sliced)
- 9 oz packets frozen artichoke hearts (thawed and halved lengthwise)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1/4 + more for passing cup finely grated hard cheese (such as grana padano, parmesan, or romano)
- chopped parsley (optional)
- To make the crepes: Add the flour, salt, baking powder, eggs, buttermilk, and water to a blender. Blend until completely combined. If you do not have a blender, whisk the ingredients together until completely combined. Refrigerate for up to one day.
- When ready to prepare the crepes, preheat a baking sheet in the oven at 200 degrees. Preheat a 6-inch nonstick skillet or crepe pan over medium-high heat. Brush lightly with melted butter. Add 1/4 cup of crepe batter to the pan and quickly swirl the pan so that the batter runs to the edges.
- Cook until the edges turn golden and begin to pull away from the pan (this will happen very quickly, in less than a minute). Carefully flip-I use an offset spatula for this-and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove the crepe from the pan to the preheated baking sheet and repeat with remaining batter, stacking the crepes as you go. Serve the crepes with sweet or savory fillings.
- To make the sauce: Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Sauté the sliced shallots in the butter until soft and translucent. Remove 2/3 of the shallot slices to a small bowl and set aside. Cook the remaining shallot slices until crisp, watching carefully so that they don't burn. Remove the crispy shallots from the pan and set aside.
- Melt another tablespoon in the pan. Add the artichoke heart halves and cook until browned on the outside, about ten minutes. You will not need to stir these frequently; spread them out in the pan and let them cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes more. Repeat this until they are browned on all sides; this took me about ten minutes.
- While the artichokes are cooking (or after the artichokes have cooked if you don't have another pan), make the béchamel: melt the remaining four tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a medium pan. Cook the butter until it browns, watching it carefully to make sure that it doesn't burn. Once the butter has browned, whisk in the flour and cook for about one minute.
- Pour the milk gradually into the roux, whisking between each addition until smooth. Cook until thickened then salt and pepper to taste. Add the cheese into the sauce. Add in the cooked artichokes and the shallots (not the crispy shallots) and stir carefully, making sure to not break the artichokes apart. Serve as a crepe filling or as a pasta sauce or filling with parsley, additional cheese, and the crispy shallots as garnish.
The 30 minute cook time assumes that you will cook the sauce while you are cooking the crepes. If you have leftover crepes, fill them with jam or Nutella and sprinkle with powdered sugar for dessert.