Sunday, February 7, 2010

Crespelle

These are the Italian version of the well known French crêpes.

This dish is a specialty of the city of Teramo, in the region of Abruzzo, on the Adriatic coast. My maternal grandfather was born in the town of Notaresco in the province of Teramo.  In the Abruzzese dialect this is known as "scrippell' m'busse," or roughly, crepes in broth.  I ate scrippell' m'busse in a restaurant in the centro storico of Teramo a few years back.  They were exactly as my grandmother and mother made.  When I returned there a couple years later with my parents, we ate them together in that same place.  We had connected with our past.

Unlike the familiar French uses (sweets like crêpes Suzette), Italian crespelle are more often found in savory dishes.  Manicotti are usually made with crespelle - stuffed with ricotta and covered with tomato sauce.  Our favorite use of crespelle is to fill them with a light sprinkling of dry, grated cheese (romano or parmigiano) and a twist of black pepper, layer them in a large bowl, and cover them with boiling chicken stock.  This is one of the most delightful and satisfying soups you will ever eat.

1/3 c    flour
1/3 c    water
pinch    salt
1    egg



Multiply for as many crespelle as you’d like.  You can figure on about 5 - 6 pancakes per egg, so 6 eggs will give you about 30 - 35 crespelle.  For every six eggs, add 1 tablespoon oil to the batter.  Be certain that the batter rests in the fridge for a good half-hour before you use it.  You might want to thin it out with additional water after it’s rested. 

Heat a nonstick 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  When Mom used to make these in a cast-iron skillet (which she still owns and uses after 40 years!), she’d grease the pan by wiping the hot pan with a slice of bacon folded up and skewered onto a fork.  Works amazingly well.  You can use a vegetable-oil release spray.

Pour about 1/3 c of the batter onto the hot skillet.  Roll the batter around to completely cover the bottom, pouring any excess back into the batter.  Cook until the top bubbles slightly, about 30 seconds.  Flip the crespella and cook for a few seconds on the other side.  Remove to a dish and cool completely.


Pouring the batter into a greased skillet.


 
The first side cooks.  The edge will curl slightly when it is cooked.





Flipping the crespella with a long stainless spatula.



Cooking the other side.


 
Sliding the finished crespella onto a platter to cool.



The assembled crespelle.

As said previously, sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon dry, sharp Italian cheese and a twist of black pepper on a crespella, roll it up like a cigar, and layer 4 to 6 in each soup plate.  Ladle on a cup of boiling chicken stock.  Serve and enjoy.


 
Scripelle 'mbusse.

8 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading this and look forward to giving the recipe a try. My grandmother made this soup every year for a special holiday, but her exact recipe is under lock and key. I look forward to trying your version as I seek to reach the taste my grandmother achieved. A little detective work and I will soon achieve the soup of my childhood:)Grazie!

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  2. Thank you so much for providing the background story and recipe. My Italian family memories are the same. And yes, my grandmother's family was from Terramo which we visited in the 1960's. Beautiful and charming! My brother and I have long wondered why this flavorful soup cannot be found in Italian restaurants.

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  3. I am happy to hear that someone else enjoys this dish. We have them on New Years day along with Pork. I have been eating this dish all my life. My Mother comes from Aquila,which I spent three months savoring all of the foods.My Father, who is scilian also had this dish as a child.As mentioned above, it is not served in any Italian restaurants and they don't know what there missing!!

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  4. My family comes from 90 miles north of Rome. The exact name of the town has been forgotten but the soup hasn't! My Mom and my Nana always served it with a peppery beef and tomato soup. I agree with the comments above, this should be served in restaurants!

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  5. There is a restaurant in Philadelphia, Le Virtù, that serves these -- "scripell m'busse," in the Abruzzese dialect

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  6. does anyone make dandelion soup

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    Replies
    1. Good question. I have not ever made it. Closest thing would be escarole soup.

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  7. karen in smoky mountains tnApril 13, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    Thanks for the interesting recipe. I'm going to try this during the Giro d'Italia, along with other regional Italian dishes. Oh, and I think your Mom's bacon method ROCKS!



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