Yeah, the poor little thing fell fast and hard, and I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that her Mom and I were a bit concerned, it all happened so quickly. One day she’s a sweet and innocent 5th grader on her first trip to Europe, the next she’s on her knees begging that we take her back to the little restaurant on the Ile St-Louis where she lost her heart to a……..savory crêpe. Zut alors!
That’s right, it wasn’t a handsome young frenchman that stole young Muppet’s heart (though Pierre Hermè came close), it was a delicate egg and bacon (oeuf-lardon) galette that brought her to her knees. She was, in fact, so smitten with the thing that we returned to the scene of her infatuation (the charming “Au Lys D’Argent” at 90 Rue St-Louis-en-I’lle) two more times during our time in Paris…..such are the demands of a girl in love in the “City of Light”.
For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure, galettes de sarrasin are savory crêpes originating from the Brittany region of France. Galettes are made with buckwheat (sarrasin) flour, as opposed to sweet crêpes which are made with all-purpose flour, and are traditionally filled with the savory goodness of eggs, cheese, bacon, ham, and various vegetables. It turns out that Muppet is not much of a stickler for tradition and ordered hers with just egg and bacon……no cheese.
I can still see the face of the proprietor, who was taking our order, when she tried so hard in her halting French, to explain to him that she didn’t want any cheese in her galette. The face he made was priceless, as if she had said….“no cheese sir, just the egg, bacon and a little dog poo in mine..s’il vous plait” His look was one of utter horror, and it spoke volumes…..“can you believe this American, she is here in France, the epicenter of world gastronomy, and she doesn’t want to eat THE CHEESE. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO EAT LE FROMAGE, WHY ARE YOU IN LA FRANCE AT ALL YOU SILLY LITTLE GIRL?”
He was so incredulous that I finally had to step in after she had made three or four attempts to explain her order, in an effort to set the record straight. Speaking in French only marginally better than hers, I repeated her order, and finished with a slight shaking of my head side to side, while I whispered the words “sans fromage”. He made a notation on his order pad, bowed his head in resignation and walked away…..
Yet another blow to Franco-American relations.
Not long after returning Stateside came Muppet’s request to reproduce the magic of “galettes de sarrasin” at home. Not having a recipe handy, I turned to the charming Clotilde Dusoulier’s fab food blog Chocolate and Zucchini for une petite assistance. Young missy and I replicated her batter just as written and were very pleased with the results, as our galettes tasted just as they did in France. Fill them as you wish, in the spartan style of Muppet with just an egg and some bacon, or like me, with everything but the kitchen sink. Either way, you are in for a treat….and who knows, you may even fall in love.
Bon Chance – Steve
for the batter:
- 200 grams (7 ounces) buckwheat flour
- 50 grams (1 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 500 ml (2 cups) milk
- 500 ml (2 cups) water
to make the galettes:
- salted butter
- fillings of your choice...egg, cheese, bacon, vegetables, potatoes, mushroom, herbs etc.
to make the batter:
- If using a food processor, break the eggs in the mixing bowl of the machine. Add the flours, and mix until well blended. Add as much of the milk as your food processor allows and mix again. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and add any remaining milk and the water. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
- If you don't have a food processor, put the flour in a large mixing bowl and dig a little well in the center. Break the eggs in the well, and whisk them progressively into the flour in a circular motion. Pour the milk in slowly, whisking all the while. Add the water, still whisking.
- In either case, cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for at least two hours, or preferably, overnight.
to make the galettes:
- Take the bowl of batter out of the fridge and prepare all the fillings beforehand. Gently whisk the batter again, as some of the flour will have settled at the bottom of the bowl.
- If you're making several galettes in a row, preheat your oven to 250 F (or a warming drawer if you have one) to accept the finished galettes while you cook the rest.
- Heat up a large non-stick skillet (or crepe pan) over medium-high heat. When it is very hot, put in a pat of salted butter. When it is melted, but before it browns, use a paper towel or pastry brush to spread the butter evenly on the surface of the skillet. Pour a ladleful of batter in the skillet (my 2 oz. ladle delivered the perfect amount of batter for my 9" crêpe pan), and tilt and swoop the pan around so that the batter spreads out in a nice even circle. Let cook on medium-high heat for a few minutes, peeking underneath with a spatula from time to time to check on the cooking.
- Flip the galette when it's nicely golden underneath. Put the fillings of your choice in the center of the galette. If using an egg, break it cautiously and maintain the yolk in the center with the eggshell or your spatula, while spreading the white out toward the edges of the galette to thin it and allow it to cook more evenly and quickly. When the other side of the galette is nice and golden, and the fillings are cooked to your liking,fold it as best you can: the traditional way is to fold the four sides in and make a square galette with the egg exposed in the center, but unless you have a very large crepe pan, your finished galette won't be large enough to allow for folding four sides. My pan is 9" wide and only allowed me to fold over two sides, making a finished piece more reminiscent of a loosely formed burrito.
- The galette you see in the photo above was made with a sunny-side up egg, some grated gruyere cheese, and bacon lardons. The top is sprinkled with sel de geurande and some finely minced fresh rosemary...it was DELICIOUS! They are also terrific with leftover sauteed greens like spinach or kale, broccoli rabe, or mushrooms stuffed inside. This batter recipe will make 12-18 galettes depending on the size of your pan, store any extras in a tupperware container in your fridge, separated by sheets of wax paper, until ready to use. When you feel the need, just re-heat in a buttered pan and fill and cook your galette as if you were starting from scratch.