We returned a few weeks ago from a family trip staying with French friends in Marseille. We had a great time being shown the wonderful sights of Marseille and getting some good family time on the beach. The food was great too. Our friends went for quality home French cooking that was simple and delicious and one night they served crêpes. If you’ve never had one, a crêpe is really a large pancake but traditionally served as both a savoury as well as a sweet dish. So for our main course our hosts fried the crêpe and then added ham, grated cheese, tomato passata and a fried egg before folding and serving. They tasted so good. This felt like real French comfort food to me as it hit all the right comfort food spots – hot ham and cheese topped with a fried egg need I say more? And it gets better. If you take your time, a crêpe takes perhaps ten minutes to prepare, but subsequent ones become quicker because you are in the swing of it. To be honest this dish is more about ‘assembling’ than ‘cooking’. If you can fry an egg, you can make this dish.
To the recipe I’ve added fresh cherry tomatoes and wilted spinach but you can innovate yourself. JP nailed his crêpe and his version didn’t have the spinach or cherry tomato. Cheese has always been high on his list of favourite foods along with ham. When he saw I had eggs out he started saying “Egg, egg, egg, egg”, which translates as “Mum, you realise it would be sheer child cruelty not to give me an egg”. So yep, a toddler approved meal.
You can serve the crêpes by themselves, or with salad and bread in true French style. They are rich though, be warned. In Marseilles I stuffed down one-and-a-half but back in the UK I only managed one. Dave on the other hand was clear two were needed.
A word about the crêpes themselves, I mean the actual unfilled pancake. In France you can easily buy savoury crêpes ready to take home and fill. So far, back home I’ve only been able to find ready made pancakes and these have some sugar added in their mix. Well, I’ve used these English pancakes to serve my French crêpes and it seems the slight sweetness is easily disguised by the savoury filling you will be adding. But you could make your own French crêpe by using a pancake recipe but leaving out the sugar.
Crepes with ham, cheese and cherry tomatoes
1/2 tbsp oil
4 cherry tomatoes, sliced (optional)
1 pancake or crêpe, ready made
1 slice of good quality ham
Spinach, a small handful (optional)
30g extra mature cheddar cheese, grated
Green salad and or bread to serve
Preparation time – 1 minute
Cooking time – 5 minutes
- Heat half the oil in a small frying pan and fry the slices of cherry tomato over a medium heat for 2 minutes
- In a separate larger frying pan heat a little oil and add the pancake, let it heat up and then add the ham and top the ham with the spinach, it will wilt slowly, now add and tomato.
- In the pan used for the tomatoes now fry the egg – you may need to add a little more oil.
- Add the cheese to the pancake, top with the egg, then fold the pancake over and serve with the green salad and bread.
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