We’ve only got one week left of spring and I can hardly bear the fact that I’m only just now talking to you about these asparagus crepes. Sure, we can get asparagus practically year-round now, but there’s just something about those first bundles that appear in early spring with their fat, flavorful stalks. I am powerless to resist, and buy them with abandon the minute I spot them in early June.
As luck would have it, we’ve had an abundance of asparagus this year because, in addition to the bundles I keep on hand in the fridge, my daughter brought us a bag from a friend’s garden that couldn’t have been any less than 5 lbs of fresh-out-of-the-ground spears. Lordy, but that was some good asparagus! I now have several containers of asparagus pesto in the freezer, just waiting for some al dente linguini; 2 jars of pickled asparagus in the fridge; and some crepes just waiting to be filled with barely blanched asparagus spears and grated Gruyere cheese, rolled and baked with a little more of that cheese on top until slightly crispy, but still sort of soft and oh so incredibly delectable.
This really is how we we’ve eaten most of that gorgeous asparagus, and I will tell you in all honestly that this stuff is so good, that even though I’ve made them several times this past week, the few spears of asparagus left in the fridge will be donated to the filling of more crepes. We are besotted and infatuated and have no plans to desist.
The recipe for these asparagus crepes is one I’ve been making for years. They’ve shown up at many a holiday table as a side dish, but recently I’ve been making them smaller and serving them up at happy hour. We’re so hooked it’s not even funny. They really are easy to make, but serve up so elegantly and would be equally awesome as a side for a special dinner or a casual barbecue. And because they can also be the perfect little finger food, they really do make a great hors d’oeuvre.
OK then, people. I hope you’re duly inspired. Get your crepes made and your cheese grated; asparagus season is still in full swing and these things aren’t going to make themselves. Here’s the recipe…
Crepes with Asparagus and Gruyere Cheese
Makes 10 side dish servings or 20 appetizer servings
For the Crepes:
½ cup milk
6 tablespoons warm water
2tablespoons melted butter
¼ tsp salt
½ cup flour
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
3 scallions, chopped (optional)
20 asparagus spears, trimmed to 6 inch lengths
Blend the first 5 crepe ingredients together and then whisk in the flour. Cover and let sit while you prepare the asparagus.
Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2 minutes (no longer).
Place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and set aside.
Melt a teaspoon or 2 of butter in a 6-inch non-stick pan (I use nonstick cooking spray). Pour about 3 tablespoons of the crepe batter into the hot pan. Swirl to cover pan. Cook for about a minute or until the edges begin to loosen and the top looks dry-ish.
Run the edge of a thin spatula around the edge of the crepe to loosen, and then flip the crepe over and cook an additional minute or so. Continue with the rest of the crepe batter, keeping the crepes covered as you make them so they won't dry out.
To assemble, take one crepe and sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the grated Gruyere cheese evenly over the crepe
and then place 2 asparagus spears in each crepe (if making for a side dish; use 1 asparagus spear if making for an appetizer), and roll up tightly.
Place in a buttered casserole.
Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and sliced scallions (if using). Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.