Ficelle Picarde Recipe (Crepe Gratin)
Ficelle picarde, which literally translates to "Picard string" in French, sounds like a fancy dish, but really, it's just a savory crêpe gratin filled with sautéed chopped mushrooms (called duxelles). It's a specialty from the region of Picardy, located in the North of France. The authentic dish is made with ham but I replaced it with soy chorizo to make it vegetarian. First, mushroom stuffed crêpes are rolled, then placed in a casserole dish, covered with Mornay mushroom cream sauce and sprinkled with Gruyère cheese. The last step is 5 to 10 minutes in the oven until bubbly and golden.
Crêpes are a fairly frequent dish at our home. The batter can be prepared in advance and you could also store pre-cooked crêpes in the freezer for faster assembly time. Whether they are served as a savory dish or as a dessert (or both!), we always find a new way to pair them with interesting combinations of flavors.
Yields: 8 servings8 crêpes from basic savory crêpe batter (click on the link for the recipe)
2 tablespoons canola oil (or more butter), as needed
1 clove garlic, finely minced
3 shallots, chopped
3 cups crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 lemon, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ (12-ounce) package soy chorizo, (I used store-bought)
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1-½ teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, warmed for 2 minutes in the microwave
2 teaspoons coarse-grained mustard
3/4 cup Gruyère cheese, freshly grated
2 teaspoons no-salt seasoning (blend of 21 spices and herbs)
4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Making the mushroom filling:
In a pan, heat the oil. Add the minced garlic and cook until golden. Add the mushrooms and drizzle with lemon juice. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add heavy cream. Season with black pepper. Transfer to a plate. Reserve about 3 tablespoons for the cream sauce. Set aside.
In the pan, add more oil if necessary. Add the shallots and cook until they're golden. Add the soy chorizo. Stir frequently. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
For the cream sauce:
In a saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-low; you don't want the butter to burn. Add the no-salt seasoning. Bring the heat back up to medium-high (the butter should be hot and golden) and add the flour. Keep stirring manually with a whisk for approximately 3 minutes. The flour should absorb the butter and form a paste. Stir well until incorporated and add the milk in 3 stages. Increase the heat and coninue stirring for about 5 minutes. Add mustard and reduce the heat to low. Season with salt and pepper. Add the reserved 3 tablespoons of mushrooms with their liquid. Using a handheld blender, pulse the sauce into a smooth texture. Adjust seasoning. Add more salt if necessary. Let the sauce rest until it's time to assemble the dish.
Mushroom stuffed crêpes:
Place your crêpe pan (or any flat pan) over medium heat. Grease it with a little butter using a silicone brush. Re-heat the crêpe in the pan for a minute. Lower the heat and flip the crêpe. Leave over low heat for about 2 more minutes, so the other side is golden.
In a bowl, combine the mushrooms with the soy chorizo. Add 2 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley. Mix well.
Transfer a crêpe to a plate. Stuff the crêpe with the mushroom mixture. Fold the crêpe in thirds (from the opposite sides).
Repeat until all the ingredients are used.
In a casserole dish sprayed with oil (for easy clean up), pour a few ladlefuls of cream sauce in the bottom of the dish. Place the stuffed crêpes into the dish. Ladle the cream sauce over the crêpes. It should cover the whole dish. Sprinkle with Gruyère cheese.
Bake in the oven for 5 minutes at 400°F and broil for about 2-3 minutes to get a nice golden crust.
Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley.
The vegetarian chorizo has a similar texture to ground beef. Soy chorizo is available in regular stores such as Safeway and Trader Joe's.
If the cream sauce is too thick when cooled, re-heat it and thin it with more milk.
I used a store-bought organic no-salt seasoning from Costco. You could add any blend of seasoning to the butter and oil, such as dried basil and garlic or dried herbs.
If you don't have any flat-leaf parsley, you can use any other herbs such as curly parsley, cilantro or basil.
For the aesthetic of the photo, I didn't entirely cover the crêpes with the cream sauce, but it's better to cover the whole dish so the crêpes are drenched in flavorful sauce.
Here's another recipe for sweet crêpe batter (Note: the yield is greater for this recipe; I posted the exact quantities for each ingredient).Published By: on June 1, 2011.