In Tom Colicchio’s cookbook Think Like a Chef, in his recipe for pickled ramps he suggests that you can make a really good sauce for fish by spooning a few teaspoons of the ramp pickling liquid into creme fraiche. I thought about this recently after I made my most recent batch of pickled ramps, and I decided to put this suggestion to work as a sauce to go into some savory crepes with smoked salmon.
Usually when I want to have savory crêpes I make galettes out of buckwheat flour instead, but Michael isn’t the biggest fan of them. Doing a little more reading into the subject, I found that The Silver Spoon, of all cookbooks, had a pretty straightforward crepe recipe that could be used in savory applications. We’ve used it before with smoked salmon so I know it works, and I was curious how all of this would come together.
As much as I am a fan of cured salmon, sometimes buying a good package of the smoked stuff is exactly what I want. My preferred brand to get here in Baltimore is, surprisingly, the Whole Foods private label fish–the value for the money is very good, and it’s one of the few private label brands that gives you the option of buying 8oz packages. They’ve unfortunately been beset with supply issues so whenever I do find it, I tend to pick it up with the intention of using it for Sunday brunch or an easy weeknight dinner where I make a giant latke, smear it with crème fraîche, and then top it with salmon and scallions. I realized recently that I have yet to write about that particular dish here, and that needs to be remedied immediately.
The trickiest part about this dish is making the crêpes, and I swear they are easier to make than galettes. It’s clearly the batter that makes a difference, and I would recommend for anyone trying to get into this particular type of pancake to go with these first, as they need less practice to perfect than their galette sibling. The egg and the milk help the batter to move around more easily on the pan, and the texture is definitely more delicate and less…latticed than a galette.
This is such a great dish for a brunch you make for others, because so much of it is either readymade or easy to make, allowing you to focus on perfecting those crêpes.
Crêpes with pickled ramp crème fraîche and scallions
Serves 2 (with leftover crepes) to 4
- 1 recipe crêpes (recipe below)
- 8 oz smoked salmon
- 4 oz creme fraiche
- 12 pickled ramps, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp pickled ramp liquid
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced
To make the pickled ramp crème fraîche, stir the sliced ramps and pickled ramp liquid in a small bowl with the creme fraiche and set aside.
To assemble each crêpe, place a large teaspoon of the pickled ramp crème fraîche in each crêpe, and then add one or two slices of smoked salmon. Roll the crêpe closed, and sprinkle with scallions. Repeat with the remaining crêpes, usually with two crêpes per person.
Lightly adapted from The Silver Spoon
Makes approximately 12 7-inch crepes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 TB butter
- Kosher salt
- Canola oil, for brushing
Special equipment: 7-inch nonstick crêpe pan,
Sift the flour into a bowl, and then make a well in the center and add the eggs to the middle of the well. Melt the butter in a microwave on medium power in 30-second increments until completely melted and let it cool (but not resolidify). Using a whisk, add about 3-4 tablespoons of the milk into the bowl and start mixing well, adding more milk to make a smooth batter. Add the cooled melted butter and whisk again to combine, and then cover the batter and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour to let any bubbles settle.
To make the crêpes, brush the crêpe pan with a little canola oil on medium heat, and when the pan is warm, add ¼ cup of the batter and twist the pan to allow the batter to coat the pan evenly. Let it cook for one minute, and then use a silicone spatula to flip the crêpe, and then cook it for one more minute on the other side before removing to a plate. Repeat and make the rest of the crepes until the batter is gone.