Sourdough Dinner: Ham and Cheese Crepes
Yes, you can have sourdough for a main dish! In this case, the sourdough takes the form of tasty crepes rolled up with mustard, ham, and Swiss cheese inside. The crepes are covered with a velvety cheese sauce and baked briefly. You end up with an elegant dinner dish that's appealing to adults as well as children (just tell the kids they get "grown up" pancakes for dinner). The dish isn't hard to do, despite the several steps involved, and you can make the crepe batter in advance and stash it in the refrigerator for a day or two. You can also make the crepes ahead of time and refrigerate them, ready to fill. The crepes are far better than the usual variety, as the sourdough discard/starter gives them a tangy taste that really complements the savory filling. Try the crepes with a salad on the side, and you'll be impressed that, yes, sourdough can work in a main course!
Sourdough Ham and Cheese Crepes -- Serves 4-6
1 cup starter/discard
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons of canola oil
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 - 1 cup of milk (depending on the stiffness of your starter)
1/2 cup of flour
Whisk together all of the ingredients well until everything is smooth. Make the crepes immediately or refrigerate the batter until later (the refrigeration will yield a tangier, better-tasting crepe, in my view). When you're ready, spritz an 8-inch round non-stick skillet with canola oil spray (or non-stick cooking spray) and heat the pan over medium heat until very hot. Add about 1/2 cup of batter to the pan and lift it up from the burner, swirling the pan to distribute the batter over the bottom of the pan. Return the pan to the burner and cook the crepe until the top takes on a matte finish and the edges start to brown and curl the slightest bit. With a spatula, flip the crepe over and cook it for about 30 seconds longer. Slide the finished crepe onto a plate and repeat the process with the remaining batter, separating the finished crepes with waxed paper as you remove them from the pan.
6 slices of thin ham (I use Aldi's "breakfast ham" with is about 1/4-inch thick)
6 slices of Swiss or Gruyere cheese
2-3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
Take one crepe, lay the ham, then the cheese on top of the crepe, and spread or squirt a little mustard on top of the cheese. Roll the crepe up, like a jelly-roll. Repeat the process with the other crepes and place the crepes in a large casserole dish that you have sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and make the sauce for the crepes.
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of milk (I use one percent)
1 cup of Swiss or Gruyere cheese, divided
Melt the butter in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and salt and cook the mixture for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, continuing to whisk gently, and cook until the sauce thickens, 5-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in 3/4 cup of the cheese, a little at a time. Pour the sauce over the crepes in the casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the crepes/sauce. Bake the crepes for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly. Let the crepes cool a few minutes before serving them.