I wasn’t looking for anything in particular when I came across a copy of Mable Hoffman’s “Crepe Cookery,” but the image of strawberries and whipped cream, wrapped in a golden brown crepe, immediately transported me back to my childhood home.
My parents had a copy of “Crepe Cookery.” It was a wedding gift, the inscription on the inside cover faded from years of use. The copy at the sale didn’t have batter-stained pages, nor did it automatically fall open to the Chicken Elegante recipe — the only crepe entree my parents ever made from the book.
When you are charged with making dinner for six kids every night, you have a steady rotation of recipes everyone will eat. Dad would sometimes experiment, but it rarely ended well.
I ended up buying the cookbook, but not for me. I put it away and gave it to my parents for their anniversary. On my last visit home, though, I noticed it sitting on the shelf, next to their old copy.
“Don’t you like it?” I asked.
“Honey, we love it,” my mom answered. “But it’s so nice. I’m worried I’ll mess it up.”
She offered to give it to me, but I had caved and ordered my own copy off the Internet years before. It isn’t an oversized hardcover like my parents’, but I still love it. It’s dog-eared and water-stained, and automatically opens to the recipe for Chicken Elegante.
“No, thanks,” I told her. “It’s too nice.”
Makes 16 crepes.
Melt butter in large skillet. Add garlic. Stir. Before garlic burns, add wine and chicken broth. Add chicken, pepper, parsley and tarragon. Cook on medium low until chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken from the skillet and slice into bite-sized pieces. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, stir cream into broth. Beat egg yolks. Add several tablespoons of the hot broth to the eggs; then stir this mixture into remaining broth. Cook over low heat, beating constantly with a whisk until slightly thickened.
Fill each warm cooked crepe with about 1/4 cup of cooked chicken. Spoon about one tablespoon sauce onto each crepe; fold over. Pour remaining sauce over crepes. Serve hot.
Source: “Crepe Cookery” by Mable Hoffman (H.P. Books; April 1976)