Savoury Buckwheat Crepes (Galettes de Sarrazin)
I live just south of Torquay in Jan Juc, Victoria, but grew up in Versailles. My family is from Brittany, which borders Normandy, and I have fond memories of feasting on fresh local seafood, crabs and mussels.
I’m a vegetarian and have learnt to adapt many traditional recipes to a vegetarian diet. One of my most loved dishes are crepes, the signature dish of Brittany.
My granddad’s sister had a crepe restaurant, which was next door to their house. Each time we would go to my grandparents’ house for holidays the first thing we would do would be knock on the window and she would give us a crepe.
Savoury crepes made with buckwheat would be eaten for lunch or dinner and filled with ham and eggs, sausages or cheese or seafood. Sweet crepes would be eaten for dessert.
These savoury buckwheat crepes are the traditional meal from Brittany. You would usually have 2 or 3 galettes with various fillings, and then a few sweet crepes to finish off your meal, accompanied with a glass or two of local apple cider.
These crepes are usually filled with seafood, cheese or ham and cheese or other savory combinations. The most popular one is la complete, consisting of ham, a fried egg and cheese.
250g buckwheat flour
1 egg, yolk and white separated
2 cups (500ml) water
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Butter, to grease pan
Fillings: slices of ham, grated cheese (gruyere) or goats’ cheese, eggs, seafood in béchamel sauce, mushrooms or anything you like!
1) Whisk together the buckwheat flour, egg yolk and water in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg white until soft peaks form, then fold in the flour and the oil.
2) Gently combine the egg white mixture with the buckwheat mixture. The consistency should be like thin cream. If needed, add a little bit more water. Rest for 2 hours.
3) Cook the galettes in a medium-hot crepe pan or frying-pan, slightly greased with a little oil. Fill a 1/4 cup measure with batter and pour it into the pan. Immediately pick up the pan and tilt and swirl it so that the batter covers the entire bottom. Once it starts to bubble and the edges lift up, flip it over and cook the other side until lightly brown (usually less than a minute), then slide it out onto a plate. Repeat with remaining batter.
4) Your galettes are now ready to be filled with the filling of your choice. Heat a little butter in your pan over medium-low heat, place a galette in the centre and cover with the filling of your choice. Fold over the edges of the galette to enclose the filling, then flip it over to cook the other side. Serve immediately.
For more on Estelle’s story and French cuisine, see our feature story here