The second-most manly meal to prepare, somewhere at a not-insignificant distance from flame-grilling meat, is breakfast. (Of an evening, may I suggest lasagne?) To impress your lady, make something more seldom-seen than a fried egg with bacon, something that has swoon-ready appeal. This is breakfast with panache, it could even be brunch or dinner — just so long as it’s crepes. Why? They’re dead easy and you can make them without looking at a recipe, which shows you’re more than simply a hockey-widow-maker. All you have to remember is to count to three.
I’ll disclose up front that this is not the regulation French crêpe, and may bring you trouble from one of their cultural ministries for attempting to pass off as same. This variety, taught to me by a mother who wanted to wish me luck with the ladies, I have widely seen residing somewhat to the east and north of the land of brie and baguette. Nonetheless!
Begin with: one cup flour, two cups milk, and three eggs; you’re now most of the way home. After this, consider some butter, lemon zest & juice, a pinch of both salt and sugar, and a dash of vanilla.
Heat a pan at low to melt some butter, about the size of a pack of playing cards. While it melts, beat the three eggs in a bowl and combine with one cup of the milk and your flour. Zest the rind of one lemon and add, along with juice from half the lemon. Put the other half aside for the table. Add salt, sugar and vanilla.
Now the slightly fiddly bit: Alternate adding melted butter with adding your other cup of milk. Let’s say this takes four rounds of each ’til both are in the bowl. Turn up the element under the pan to a little under medium (individual ranges may vary) and add just enough batter to coat the surface. Too much batter will make this a sort-of fluffy pancake, which will fail in two categories and leave your lady unimpressed.
While the crepe cooks, pick at the edges with your spatula so there’s no sticking and you can see what’s going on underneath. Once brown, turn over once and, once brown, remove and repeat. The process is a little time-consuming so, when possible, I have two pans going on the stovetop simultaneously. After all, there’s heightening the anticipation and then there’s making someone wait.
Serve at table with lemon wedges and sugar. Or sliced strawberries with whipped cream. Or jam, or syrup, or whatever you’re into.
For something more savory later in the day, spread some soft cream cheese in the middle and add chives and smoked salmon, rolling up the crepe before presentation. Prosciutto and asparagus? Doesn’t matter. One can’t go wrong with a crepe because in all likelihood it’s not something she’s making for herself regularly and, given the ingredients, one could argue that this is a very thin pan-fried cake. Who doesn’t love a bit of cake?
Image courtesy of Marcus Tamm.