Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year Kids!!

Buon Anno! Today was the first day of 2010 and I am grateful for so many things. We had a lovely family dinner today, and I'm not quite finished cleaning and tidying, but I must tell you about the beautiful platter of meats that was served as the antipasto. My husband, Italo, is the only man I know in Canada who still makes his own Prosciutto, Salami, Capicollo, and Pancetta. Can you believe it? He seems to be keeping this ancient art alive single-handed! He has several nephews in Friuli who still do this, and each time we go "home" he reviews the latest information re techniques etc. with them. The Prosciutto of San Daniele, in Friuli, is world-famous, and if you've ever seen the hundreds, perhaps even thousands of Prosciutto hanging in long sheds being cured by the mountain air, you'll never forget it. Or the flavour. And this is being replicated here in my home on the Pacific coast of B.C.! He has a professional Deli meat slicer, so the meats are beautifully sliced, thin and aromatic. A sight to behold. All you need to serve with them are breadsticks or a thinly-sliced bit of Baguette.
For our first course today I made Crespelle with two different fillings. Crespelle are what the French call Crepes, thin little pancakes about 8 inches in diameter. I use a non-stick frying pan, about 8 inches in diameter, and although the first one always looks like the dog's breakfast, you'll soon get the hang of it.
The recipe is as follows:
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. melted butter or oil
Whisk together the flour and eggs, gradually whisk in the milk and water. Add the salt and oil or butter, whisk until smooth.
Let the batter rest about an hour in the frig.
Lightly oil or spray the pan between each crepe.
With your pan at medium heat, put about 2 T. of batter in the middle of the pan and quickly lifting it off the heat, rotate it until you have a very thin layer of batter in a circle all over the bottom of the pan.
Let it cook until its golden, then flip it. The second side won't take nearly as long. The first side you cooked is the presentation side. This made 10 crepes today.

Now make a pan of Bechamel, Besciamella, and toss in some Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded, or, as I did, some Friulano Vecchio. You could actually use Emmenthal, Fontina, or any combination of cheeses you like or have in the frig. That's basically a cheese sauce, nothing fancy or strange.
As far as fillings are concerned, your imagination is the limit. I did half with a little blue cheese...Gorgonzola..., a bit of Prosciutto Cotto...that's Ham, and an asparagus spear. Good.
The others I filled with mushrooms sauteed in butter, and bits of pre-cooked scallops. Doesn't take much as these are little crepes. Make them bigger if you like simply by using a larger frying pan.
Now slather a good layer of the sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan or whatever you wish to cook them in which can be taken to the table.
Place the rolled crepes in the dish, and then spread more of the cheesey Besciamella all over the top. Sprinkle with more shredded cheese and bake at 250-300 for about 20 mins. or until you see the sauce bubbling.
Buon Appetito!

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