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Maciamo
06-08-17, 11:05
I am not exactly a chef, but food is an important part of my culture and I have been cooking regularly since I was 18. During most of my adult life, crêpes (pancakes, although not the small, thick American-style ones, but the large and thin European ones) have been one of my main staple food, either for breakfast or lunch. I have never been much of a bread eater, and since I was diagnosed with acute gluten intolerance several years ago, pancakes have been one of the easiest food to adapt to my gluten-free diet thanks to the rise in popularity of gluten-free flours. My favourite gluten-free flours are those from Doves Farm (https://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/) (UK) and Orgran (http://www.orgran.com/) (Australia). I have tried several sorts from the Bob's Red Mill brand (USA), but didn't really like any of them (the pancake mix is too salty due to high bicarbonate content).

The preparation is pretty straightforward. Take a big plastic bowl, break one or two eggs inside (I use one egg per 3 or 4 pancakes), mix the egg with a whisk, add milk, mix, add flour, mix until the right consistency is achieved. I never measure. I feel from the thickness of the paste whether it's good or not, and if not, I add more flour or more milk until it's right.

European pancakes are cooked in a large frying pan (28 or 30 cm). I used to pour a bit of olive oil in the pan so that it doesn't stick, but with a Tefal non-stick pan in good condition it's really not necessary. Never use a damaged/scratched frying pan as it releases toxic chemicals into the food. Cook on high fire, but not maximum (13 out of 15 on my induction cooktop). If you want to give a more golden colour to the crêpes, just add a few drops of olive oil to the paste and mix well before pouring it into the pan. This way it won't blister the crêpes, the oil won't overheat and create toxic aldehydes, and the golden tan will be evenly spread.

Crêpes can be eaten sweet or salty. Sweet is easy. You can add any number of jam on it. I like to stack two or three thin crêpes with a layer of different jam. One of my favourite combination is cherry jam with chestnut jam (confitures de châtaignes or crème de marrons). The latter is almost exclusively from France, but can be found in gourmet shops in big cities worldwide (I could find it easily in Tokyo). Adding sliced fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries, mangoes) also works well. Slice bananas with melted Belgian dark chocolate (and a scoop of vanilla ice cream) is perfect for dessert.

Salty pancakes are what real cooking is about, as the taste will depend enormously on what you put on them. Here is one of my favourite recipes of my invention.

Tomato, avocado and cheese crêpes

Of French and Italian inspiration, this crêpe has the three colours of the Italian flag. It's ideal for lunch.

1) Spread Boursin cheese on the crêpes. There are seven varieties of Boursin in France, but not all of them are available in other countries. Anyway I use shallot & chive Boursin (http://www.boursin.com/en_us/Products/Boursin-R-Cheese/Shallot-Chive), but feel free to use garlic & fine herbs if you prefer. Both should be available in al countries where Boursin is sold (North America, Western Europe, Japan). If you can't find Boursin, it is acceptable to replace it with Philadelphia, although it won't be as tasty.

2) Cut a few chunks of ripe avocado (never use the parts that have become brown, as it's mould and isn't good for health) and crush them with a fork on the crêpe, on top of the Boursin. I use about a quarter of avocado per crêpe.

3) Slice a few pieces of tomato on top (about a quarter of a medium-sized tomato).

4) Take a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano and slice or grate a few pieces on top of everything, taking care of spreading it evenly like the rest. Please don't use pre-grated or powder parmesan as it just doesn't taste the same.


5) Roll the crêpe and eat (with a fork and knife).