We found ourselves with an unusual set of circumstances – a rare Saturday night with no work and no plans with friends. What better opportunity for a date night? Unfortunately, it was the first of the month – the mortgage was paid, and not much was left over for dinner and a movie.
So date night at home it was. I didn’t want to do just a regular every night meal. I wanted to make something a little special, but I wasn’t sure what. What eventually came to my rescue? Crepes. What was my inspiration? IHOP, of course. I mean, when you think of a special meal with a gourmet twist, my thoughts automatically go to IHOP, don’t yours? (OK, I saw an IHOP commercial with crepes in it – what do you want? Every great idea can’t come with a flattering story to tell, can it?)
I had plenty of choices to fill the crepes, but I settled on fresh, sweet corn. It’s corn season, and it seems like I’ve been buying it by the silo. But it’s so good this year. And cheap – I think an entire bushel costs about 3 ½ cents (give or take).
I’ve been giving most of my corn dishes an Italian bent lately (garlic and basil go so wonderfully with the sweetness of corn), so I wanted to do something decidedly non-Italian for this rare event.
Other than basil, my favorite flavor pairing for corn is dill. I don’t know what it is, but dill brings out the best qualities of corn, and the corn rounds out the punch when you bite into dill. Once I know I’m using dill, my brain automatically jumps to sour cream. Voila! The basis for my sauce took shape.
By the time I was finished, I realized how ironic the dish turned out to be: French crepes filled with American corn, and topped with a Scandinavian (or is it east European?) based sauce. Where else could this idea come from but the International House of Pancakes?
The reason crepes are special is because I rarely make them. In my head they seem laborious. But every time I make them, I realize that I’m wrong. They’re simple. And it takes no more time to cook 12 of these one at a time, than it takes to cook 12 pancakes 4 at a time. They can also be done ahead. So I threw together the crepe batter and finished them off before lunch. All I had to do was pop them in the fridge until I was ready for them. (I guess you could buy some pre-made crepes from the store instead – but I’m assuming they are designed for dessert and have some sugar added. Not my thing for a savory dish, but that’s your call to make.)
The rest of this dish came together in just a few minutes. The corn filling is a snap, filling the crepes is a cinch, and then you bake them off for 20 minutes. Speaking of which, I love baking filled crepes uncovered – it gives the tops and ends a little crunch. If you don’t like the crunch, then throw some foil over the baking dish before popping it in the oven. The crepes will stay soft and pliable.
Since I spent a little time on the crepes, I didn’t want to expend too much energy for the sauce. This one is a no brainer: basically sauté a few scallions, dump in some sour cream with a couple of other flavors, and heat it through. The sauce is piquant and is a phenomenal contrast to the sweetness of the corn-filled crepes.
I have to say that for no more effort than it took, the crepes saved the day and turned an at-home date night dinner into something special. But in the end, it didn’t matter: Don got called into work, and date night turned into 45 minutes on his dinner break. Look on the bright side: at least we didn’t waste our reservations at IHOP.
Sweet Corn Crepes with Scallion Dill Sauce
Save the day with this impressive and inexpensive dish
- 1 C all purpose flour
- 4 eggs (room temperature)
- 1 C milk (room temperature)
- Pinch of salt
- ½ C butter (melted, and slightly cooled and divided)
- 4 ears worth of corn kernels
- or 2 C of frozen corn, thawed and patted dry
- 1 C ricotta cheese
- ½ t hot sauce
- ¼ C chopped fresh parsley
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 egg (slightly beaten)
- 1 T butter
- 4 scallions (finely chopped)
- 1 C sour cream
- 1 t Dijon mustard
- 2 T milk
- 1 T dried dill
- Salt & pepper to taste
To make crepes
- Place flour, eggs, milk, salt, and ¼ C melted butter into a mixer.
- Mix until well combined, 15-20 seconds.
- Set aside on counter to rest for about an hour (you want to allow all the bubbles to subside and the flour to absorb the moisture).
- Preheat an 8” nonstick pan over medium low heat.
- Using the remainder of the melted butter, lightly brush the nonstick pan.
- Pour a scant ¼ C of batter into the center of the pan and swirl until the bottom is coated and the batter no longer runs.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side or until the edges dry out and the bottom is slightly brown.
- Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Remove from pan and start the next crepe.
- This should yield about 12 crepes. (The cooked crepes can be wrapped up and placed in the fridge for 1-2 days, or placed into a freezer bag and frozen for several weeks.)
To make filling and assemble
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spray a 13”x9” baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Reserve about 1 T of corn and 1 T f chopped parsley for garnish.
- Place the remainder of corn kernels, ricotta cheese, hot sauce, and remainder of chopped parsley into a medium mixing bowl.
- Stir to combine.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in beaten egg.
- To fill crepes, lay out crepe (better looking side down) and place about 2 T of filling down the center of the crepe. Fold over and roll into a tight log.
- Place crepe seam-side-down into the baking dish.
- Repeat until all crepes are finished.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until crepes are heated through and the filling sets.
To make sauce
- While crepes are baking, add 1 T butter and scallions to a preheated medium sauté pan over medium heat.
- Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until scallions are tender.
- Add sour cream, Dijon mustard, dried dill, milk.
- Stir to combine.
- Salt & pepper to taste.
- Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally for 10 minutes.
- If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little more milk (or water).
- To serve, pour sauce over crepes and garnish with reserved corn kernels and parsley.
This recipe has a few steps, but they are all very simple. The crepes can be made way ahead, and then the whole thing can be assembled about 30 minutes before you want to eat.
This post is reblogged from my earlier site, Inexpensive Eating