Savory crepes are a staple among Paris street vendors, who sell them to passers-by for lunch and dinner. Our version is a simplified crêpe complète – a buckwheat crepe filled with ham and Gruyere cheese, and topped with a fried egg. It makes a perfect centerpiece for a weekend brunch.
Buckwheat Crepes with Ham, Gruyere and Fried Eggs
6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g.) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml.) whole milk
9 large eggs
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) buckwheat flour
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) all-purpose flour
Canola oil or clarified butter for cooking
1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g.) shredded Gruyere cheese
12 thin slices Black Forest ham
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a blender, combine 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) plus 2 tablespoons of the milk, 3 of the eggs, and the salt. Add the buckwheat flour and all-purpose flour and process until smooth, occasionally stopping the blender to scrap down the sides as necessary. Pour into a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
Lightly oil an 8-inch (20-cm.) crepe or nonstick frying pan and place over medium-high heat until hot. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons milk to the batter and whisk well. Pour 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) of the batter into the pan and tilt the pan to cover the bottom evenly. Drizzle a little batter into any holes. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip and cook the other side until golden, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan as needed and stacking the crepes, separated by parchment or waxed paper, as they are ready. You should have 12 crepes. (The crepes can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Place 1 crepe on a work surface. Sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of the cheese, then top with a slice of ham. Fold the crepe in half, then in half again to form a triangle. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining crepes, cheese and ham. Brush the tops of the filled crepes with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Bake just until hot throughout, about 5 minutes.
In a large frying pan, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter over medium heat until the butter is foamy. One at a time, crack the remaining 6 eggs into the pan. Season with salt and pepper, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the whites are set, about 2 minutes for sunny-side-up eggs. Or carefully flip the eggs and cook to the desired doneness.
To serve, place 2 crepes on each plate and top with a fried egg. Serve at once. Serves 6.
Variation: Substitute smoked turkey and Cheddar for the ham and Gruyere.