Light and delicate, these salmon & cream cheese crêpes are perfect for any time of the day, as well as a great savoury addition to Pancake Day.
As a child and teenager, I seldom spent much time thinking about Easter and the traditions before and around it. See, I was fascinated by and forever enamoured with the sparkle of Christmas. I still love the winter holiday very much, but the older I get, the more I find myself drawn to Easter. The reasons behind it are not religious, but rather related to my fascination with the significance of traditions and their different expressions.
Easter and the period leading to it is abundant in practices and rituals, many of which are centred around food. In Greece, the Monday before the beginning of Easter Lent is referred to as Clean; celebrated as a public holiday, it signifies the beginning of lent and spiritual catharsis for believers. It is usually spent outdoors, weather permitting, over kite flying and feasts which are lacking any kind of meat, fish or dairy, but are replete with sea food, pulses, olives, taramasalata, lagana (a flatbread baked especially on this day) and, often, copious amounts of alcohol. I am all too familiar with this occasion and it is in fact one of the celebrations I miss most from home.
Still, being away, I am happy to make a swap of sorts and embrace another tradition instead: Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which similarly signified the beginning of Lent. Accordingly, all the foods which were not to be consumed during the following weeks (such as dairy and eggs), would very appropriately find their way into delicious pancakes. It is little facts like this which make me fall for food and food traditions more each day; it’s the merging of the divine with the practical, the fact that overwhelming faith and simple pragmatism so often somehow are joined into shaping actions and choices.
My contribution to this practice is these simple yet very delicious crêpes: thin, delicate and enriched with the addition of chives, they are filled with an ever so smooth cream cheese spread and pieces of smoked salmon, along with crunchy spring onions, lots of lemon zest (from those lemons), freshly cracked black pepper and nigella seeds.
Salmon & cream cheese crêpes
110 gr all purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon dry chives
2 medium eggs
200 ml milk
75 ml filtered water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup olive oil (for the pan)
200 gr smoked salmon
1/3 cup half fat greek yogurt
1/2 cup half fat cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
a generous pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
a squirt of lemon juice
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1-2 tablespoons nigella seeds
- Start by making the filling: combine the yogurt, cream cheese, dill and lemon zest. Add salt, freshly ground black pepper and some lemon juice. Set aside (or in the fridge) while you prepare the crêpes.
- Start by making the crêpe batter: shift the flower and salt; add the dry chives, eggs, milk, water and melted butter whisk until smooth.
- Place a large pan over high heat; once the pan is very hot, lower the heat to medium. Grease the pan with some olive oil (smear it with some kitchen paper) and add a laddleful of the batter into the pan. Very quickly, swirl it around so that it spreads evenly. Cook for about a minute and then carefully flip, using a spatula. Cook the other side for about 30”, then place on a plate and repeat with the remaining batter. It should give you about 6 crêpes.
- To serve: spread the cream cheese mixture on half of each crêpes and top with a couple salmon slices, fresh chives, nigella seeds and additional lemon juice if desired. Fold in two and then fold again to form a triangle.