Recently I was invited to an early Thanksgiving event and I needed to bring a dish for the buffet. I wanted to make something that could be put together the night before, because I am barely coherent in the morning and I needed to leave my house at 10AM. These Spinach Crepe Spirals are perfect, because I could make the crepes the day before, spread with filling, roll them up, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. The next morning just slice and place on a serving tray, and you’re good to go. Plus you get to eat the trimmed ends while you work. What a deal.
I have been making these appetizers since the 1980s and they were served on the side of an asparagus salad at one of my UCLA Culinary School banquets in 1995. You can read the menu and my post about that banquet here.
I haven’t made these lately, so as I was making the crepes I decided to taste test one just spread with some butter and rolled up. Yum. They have minced spinach and green onions in them, which are so delicious. Then I was thinking that these would be a great way to use Thanksgiving leftovers. Just fill with turkey and dressing, roll up and douse with gravy. Or cold like a sandwich roll-up. It’s a crepe, after all, so the possibilities are endless. Time to get creative.
Spinach Crepe Spirals with Cream Cheese,
Sun-dried Tomatoes, Garlic, Lemon Zest and Pine Nuts
Makes 4 dozen appetizers
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup finely minced green onions (1 bunch)
Vegetable oil for skillet
1 pound cream cheese (16 oz), room temperature
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon vodka
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/2 cup (3 oz) toasted pine nuts, rough chop
1. Thaw spinach over night in fridge, or place unwrapped frozen block in a large bowl of warm water. Stir occasionally until thawed. Pour into a fine mesh sieve and squeeze out as much water as possible. Place on cutting surface and discard obvious large stems. Chop very fine and divide in half. Place one half in batter and reserve second half for another use
2. In a blender, food processor, or large bowl with a whisk, combine eggs, milk, flour, salt and pepper. Mix until well blended. Pour batter into a large bowl, and whisk in the spinach and minced green onions.
3. Warm a 10-inch nonstick skillet or crepe pan over moderate heat and brush lightly with oil. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into hot pan, tilting to coat evenly with thin layer of batter.
4. Cook until light brown spots start to appear. Flip crepe over and cook until the bumps of the spinach are browned. Remove crepe from pan and let cool on paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining batter and oil to make 12 crepes.
Note: The recipe can be made ahead to this point. Wrap the crepes in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks. Let return to room temperature before using.
5. For the filling: in a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, basil, vodka, lemon zest, garlic and black pepper.
6. Spread drained sun-dried tomatoes on paper towel-lined plate. Cover with another paper towel and press out as much oil as possible. Chop fine.
7. Mix chopped sun-dried tomatoes and chopped toasted pine nuts into cream cheese filling.
8. Lay a crepe on a flat surface, smooth side down and bumpy green side up. Spread with about 3 tablespoons cream cheese filling, 1/4-inch thick. Make sure a thin layer of cream cheese covers entire edge farthest from you. This will act like glue to keep the roll tight.
9. Starting at edge closest to you, roll up crepe tightly, making sure the closing edge is completely sealed. Set aside seam down. Repeat with remaining crepes and filling.
10. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight. Keep refrigerated until ready to slice.
11. Trim ends of each crepe roll on diagonal. Nosh on trimmings while slicing rolls. Cut on the diagonal into about 5 slices, 3/4-inch wide. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.