French crepe filled with mushrooms, shallots and cheese. Hillary Levin/TNS
In retrospect, it was the best meal of my life. Not coincidentally, it was also the best street food of my life.
It was just after midnight in Paris. A light mist was falling on the cobblestone street. And in that most romantic of settings, I was hungry.
Across the street — cobblestone, as I said — was a creperie. There was a line, five or six people long, waiting to take their turn ordering crepes at the window that opened onto the street.
I made my way to the front of line, ordered and watched them as they made it. I picked up my crepe, shaped in a cone and wrapped in waxed paper, at the next window. It was absolutely heavenly.
And it wasn’t just the hour, the mist, the cobblestone street and the City of Light. It was the crepe itself: mushrooms and Emmentaler cheese, with a light coating of egg cooked onto the inside of the crepe.
PARISIAN MUSHROOM CREPE
2 1/4 cups whole milk
7 large eggs, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
4 shallots, finely chopped
35 cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced thick
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup white vinegar
2 cups Emmentaler or Gruyère cheese, shredded
1. Place milk, 4 of the eggs, salt and melted butter in a large bowl or blender, and mix, whisk or blend together briefly. Add flour and mix, whisk or blend until combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour or overnight.
2. Meanwhile, make the filling. Melt 1/2 tablespoon of the butter in a pan over medium-high heat, add shallots and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper, and sauté until mushrooms are cooked, 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer until it has nearly entirely evaporated. Remove from heat. This may be refrigerated for one day.
3. Beat 1 egg, if desired. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon butter and swirl to coat entire bottom of the pan. Add 1 ladle of batter, about 1/3 cup, and swirl until it coats the bottom of the pan. Cook until set and beginning to turn a little brown on the bottom.
4. Flip crepe, using a spatula (or your fingers). If desired, quickly pour 1/3 of the egg onto the crepe and spread with a pastry brush. When egg begins to set, sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese on the crepe. Place 1/8 of the mushroom mixture in a stripe across the centre of the crepe. When the bottom of the crepe starts to turn golden brown, roll both sides over the mushrooms and remove to a platter. Repeat with remaining batter and mixture, beating additional eggs as required.
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