Monday, September 1, 2014

Trio of Irish Seafood Crêpes

Cooking Irish can also be found at PETITCHEF and Pinterest.

This is one of those recipes I wish would be included on a dinner menu as it was in Ireland in 1985. We were exploring County Monaghan in the Province of Ulster in the Republic of Ireland and stopped for dinner near Castleblaney. My daughter Erin loves seafood and was delighted she ordered this trio of seafood crepês. Today Monaghan is very tourist-friendly and is one of Ireland's best kept secrets with unspoiled landscape, wildlife, beautiful scenery, many lakes, rivers, forests, and mountains.

Monaghan is the birthplace of the poet and writer Patrick Kavanagh, who based much of his work in the county. Kavanagh is one of the most significant figures in mid-20th century Irish poetry. The poems "Stony Grey Soil" and "Shancoduff" refer to the county. County Monaghan is twinned with the Province of Prince Edward Island in Canada.  At least 20% of the population of Prince Edward Island can trace its ancestry to the county as a result of migration from Monaghan to that part of Canada during the years 1820-1840.

My granddaughter Claudia Paige takes equestrian lessons and is learning to ride English style. She shows as a member of the CDHJC.  I was dreaming of taking her on an Irish holiday--just CP and her GammaYaYa--and found a wonderful spot in Monaghan, The Castle Leslie Equestrian Centre.  It combines my love of cooking and her love of riding. There are five courtyards tucked in behind the hunting lodge that are home to 55 horses and ponies.  The Equestrian Centre has 1000 acres of private estate land to explore, 300 cross country jumps, 21 miles of bridleways to meander along, a virtual horse--Ireland’s first fully-sized simulated horse, 2-hour cross country rides,  lessons, side-saddle, and carriage driving, mile-long all-weather gallop, and so much more I did not understand of the horse lingo. 

Best of all there is a cooking school on the premises so I could spend time in the apron with the ‘Equi-Chef’ program while Claudia Paige was spending time in the saddle. And there are also relaxing spa treatments in the Victorian Spa. The indoor arena has seating for 200 allowing guests and riders to enjoy the many lectures, demonstrations, and clinics. There is also an enclosed viewing area offering the facility of private dining while watching the horses perform. Doesn't that sound like a great holiday adventure? A spa, cooking classes, and watching my 8-year old granddaughter ride. I need to win the lottery. Ireland really has come into the 21st century!

Castle Leslie Equestrian Centre in County Monaghan 


My granddaughter Claudia Paige and her horse Shamrock

The closest recipes I have found over the years that match the crêpes we had in County Monaghan were in a cookbook given to me by my sister Paige as a Christmas gift with a crêpe pan.  It was published in London in 2002 and called simply crêpes.  [Lower cased for any linguistic buffs or proofreaders]   I have included their basic crêpe batter recipe and their shrimp filling recipe.  I hope you enjoy this trio of seafood crêpes as much as my daughter Erin did in Castleblayney in 1985.

Trio of Irish Seafood Crêpes

Basic Crêpe Recipe

The basic crêpe batter can be used for both savory and sweet dishes, and the technique remains the same when making flavored batters.  The secret to success is to avoid over-beating.  Beat the ingredients only until they are combined and smooth.  Too much whisking causes the gluten in the flour to develop, and as a result, the crêpes will be tough and chewy.  The exception is when making yeast batter, which requires vigorous beating to develop the gluten.  You may need to adjust the quantity of liquid you add to the batter, as individual flours vary.  Aim for a fairly thin, pourable consistency.

It is not essential to let the batter rest, but it does produce a lighter result.  Crêpes made from freshly prepared batter tend to have a bubbly, rather than flat surface.  Pour the batter into a pitcher, cover, and set aside in a cool place for about 30 minutes to let the starch in the flour swell.  When you are ready to cook the crêpes, if the batter has begun to separate, stir well to remix, but do not over mix.  If the batter has been standing for a longer period, it may have thickened and you will need to stir in a little more liquid.  Do not leave the batter to stand for more than 12 hours or it will begin to ferment. As each crêpe is cooked, slide it out of the pan onto a flat plate.  Stack the crêpes, interleaved with waxed paper or baking parchment to prevent them from sticking, and keep warm in a low oven. 

Ingredients:  [Makes 8-10 Crêpes]

1¼ cups of all-purpose flour
A pinch of salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1¼ cups of milk
Light vegetable oil or butter for greasing pan


1. Put the flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the center.  Pour the egg and some of the milk into the well.  Whisk the liquid, gradually incorporating the flour to make a smooth paste.  Whisk in the remaining milk, then pour the batter into a measuring cup with a pouring spout.  Allow to rest, if desired.
2. Put a little oil or batter into a 7-inch crêpe pan or heavy-based skillet and heat until it starts to smoke.  Pour off any excess and pour a little batter into the pan, tilting it until the base is coated with a thin layer.  Cook for 1-2 minutes until the underside begins to turn golden.
3. Flip the crêpe with an offset spatula and cook for a further 30-45 seconds until it is golden on the second side.  Slide the crêpe out of the pan and make the remaining crêpes, greasing the pan as necessary.  Keep warm until ready to fill.

Shrimp Crêpes with Dill and Sour Cream    [Makes 8]


¼ cup of butter
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced
¼ cup of all-purpose flour
1¼ cup of milk
23 cup of sour cream 12 oz. of cooked shrimp
13 cup of roughly chopped fresh dill ½ cup of grated Romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the fennel slices gently for 5 minutes or until soft.  Transfer the fennel to a bowl with a slotted spoon.  Add the flour to the pan and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, whisking until thickened.  Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the sour cream, and season with salt and pepper. 
2. Add the shrimp, dill, and 3/4 cup of the sauce to the fennel and mix together.  Spoon the filling into the crêpes and roll them up.
3. Put the crêpes into a lightly greased shallow baking dish and spoon the remaining sauce down the center of the crêpes.  Sprinkle with the cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 375° fro 25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and lightly golden.

Crab Crêpes with a Cream Chive Sauce  [Makes 8]


12 oz. of fresh crab meat
8 oz. of fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced and cooked in butter for three minutes
6 tbsp. of butter
6 tbsp. of flour
1 cup of chicken broth
1 cup of heavy cream
1 tbsp. of sherry or dry white wine
1 tsp.of  white pepper
2 tbsp. of fresh chive, chopped 


1. Melt the butter in a sauté pan.  Remove from heat, blend in the flour, and return to heat.  Stir and cook a few minutes until a roux is formed.  Gradually stir in the broth and simmer, stirring constantly until thickened.  Gradually blend in the cream, then sherry or wine and pepper and chives. [This makes about 2 cups of white sauce so you will have some left over.  To save time, you could use it for the white sauce base for the lobster crêpe recipe.] 
2. Combine the crab meat and mushrooms in a bowl and stir in just enough of the sauce to coat the mixture and bind it.  Spoon the filling into the crêpes and roll them up.
3. Put the crêpes into a lightly-greased shallow baking dish and spoon the remaining sauce down the center of the crêpes.  Bake in a preheated oven at 375° fro 25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and lightly golden.

Lobster Newburg Crêpes    [Makes 8]


12 oz. of lobster tail meat, roughly chopped
16 very thin and tender asparagus spears cut into ½-inch pieces and cooked in butter for 3 minutes
3 tbsp. of butter
3 tbsp. of flour
¼ tsp. of salt
Dash of pepper
1½ cups of milk
1 egg yolk, beaten
1½ tbsp. of sherry
2 tbsp. of fresh flat parsley, chopped


1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the flour, salt, and pepper and stir for one minute, until nice and bubbly.  Remove from heat and stir in the milk.  Return to heat and stir until it reaches a boil.  With a fork, combine half of the sauce with the egg yolk.  Pour it all back into the saucepan, stirring as you pour.  Add the sherry and parsley. 
2. Combine the lobster meat and asparagus in a bowl.  Stir in just enough of the sauce to coat the mixture and bind it.  Spoon the filling into the crêpes and roll them up.
3. Put the crêpes into a lightly-greased shallow baking dish and spoon the remaining sauce down the center of the crêpes. Bake in a preheated oven at 375° fro 25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and lightly golden.

This is great for a party because it makes so many crêpes. Remember if you are making the full recipe, you would need to triple the basic crêpe recipe because it only makes 8-10 crêpes and the 3 seafood recipes make a total of 24 crêpes.

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