Crepes with Ricotta, Ham, and Spinach Filling
Fills 16 6-7-inch crepes, 6-8 servings. Published March 1, 1997.
If you have the time, make these crepes with one bunch of fresh spinach (about 1 pound), stemmed, steamed 3 to 4 minutes to wilt it, then refreshed, squeezed dry, and chopped. As a variation, substitute smoked turkey for the ham, blue cheese for the Gruyère, and add 1/3 cup chopped walnuts.
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons water
1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, plus extra for brushing pan
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion , chopped coarse
2 small cloves garlic , minced
1 package frozen chopped spinach (10 ounces), thawed and squeezed dry
10 ounces whole-milk ricotta (1 1/4 cups)
6 ounces Gruyère cheese , grated (3 cups)
Pinch ground nutmeg
Table salt and ground black pepper
16 slices deli-style baked ham (preferably in 6- to 7-inch rounds)
1. For the Crepes: Mix all ingredients (except extra melted butter) in food processor or blender (or by hand as noted above) until smooth batter is formed, 3 to 4 seconds. Transfer batter to covered container; refrigerate at least 2 hours or, if desired, up to 2 days.
2. Gently stir batter if ingredients have separated. Heat 6- to 7-inch crepe pan or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Brush pan bottom and sides very lightly with butter, which should sizzle when it hits pan. When butter stops sizzling, pour 2 1/2 tablespoons (use 1/4-cup measure just over half full) batter into pan, following illustrations below. Cook until mottled brown on bottom, loosening crepe from pan side with table knife or metal icing spatula to check doneness, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip loosened crepe quickly with fingertips or spatula; cook until spotty brown on other side, about 30 seconds longer.
3. Place cooked crepe on plate and repeat cooking process with remaining batter, brushing pan as necessary, every two to three crepes. For 9- to 10-inch skillet, follow same cooking process using full 1/4 cup of batter for each crepe. (Crepes can be double-wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 months.)
4. For the Filling: Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer mixture to medium bowl; add spinach, ricotta, 2 cups Gruyère, and nutmeg as well as salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
5.To Assemble: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease two 13-by-9-inch baking pans. Working one at a time, place one ham slice on a crepe; spoon 3 tablespoons filling over ham, then fold as desired. Place in prepared baking pan; top with remaining cheese; cover with foil. Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
1. Tilt the buttered and heated crepe pan just slightly to the left and begin pouring in the batter.