Chef's Kitchen: Crepe Urbain 'Revisited'

By Allison Walker Torres, Entertainment Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 08, 2017, 5:22 PM EDT

Urbain 40's crepe has been reinvented.

"It used to be in a pie shape," said Chef Tim Keating, Urbain 40's top chef and culinary operations director for Boulevard Restaurant Group. "But we've taken it now, and we're going to add in a little bit of Italiano to it."

To achieve that, Chef stuffs his crepe with an eggplant and mushroom caponata. As you can see from the recipe below, there's quite a number of ingredients, so Chef advises to portion them all out before cooking.

"In French, it's call mise en place ("to put in place")," he said.

Chef even reveals the now not-so-secret ingredients: cocoa powder, cinnamon (just a little) and a little sugar.

In addition to the caponata, Chef prepares a rich yellow/orange coulis — a yellow tomato and yellow sweet pepper marinara. It serves as the "bed" to your crepe.

Oh, and we can't forget about the melted, cheesy goodness on top.

Let's cook!

Crepe Urbain 'Revisited'
Yield: 6 appetizer servings

6 prepared crepes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon each: red chili flakes and pine nuts
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon each: freshly-chopped thyme and oregano leaves
3 tablespoons dried currants
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium yellow squash, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
4 ounces crimini mushrooms, washed and cut into wedges
1 teaspoon each: sugar, cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
6 mint sprigs, chopped
Tomato and sweet pepper coulis:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 yellow onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon each: turmeric and freshly chopped thyme
2 sprigs of fresh basil leaves
1 each yellow and orange bell pepper, trimmed, seeded and thinly sliced
1 pound large yellow tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup vegetable stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
2 ounces butter
To serve:
6 slices Gruyere cheese
Drizzle of aged or reduced balsamic vinegar
Micro greens or herbs
Basil-infused oil (optional)

1. For the caponata, in a saute pan heat olive oil on medium. Add onions, garlic, thyme, oregano, nuts, currants, and chili flakes. Sauté 4-5 minutes. Stir in eggplant, squash, zucchini, mushrooms, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder; 5 minutes. Add marinara and vinegar. Bring to boil. Lower heat; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, top with mint.

2. For the coulis, in a pan heat olive oil on medium. Add onion, garlic and chili flakes. Cook until soft and golden brown; 8-10 minutes. Add thyme, basil, turmeric, and peppers; 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and stock, Bring to boil, stirring. Lower heat; simmer 30 minutes. Strain through fine sieve. In another pan, heat strained mixture until just bubbling. Reduce heat; simmer to heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in butter.

3. Preheat oven to 400F. Lay out crepes on cutting board. Spoon 3 to 4 ounces caponata into center of one end of crepe and fold over like a burrito. Place crepes on large plate and heat in microwave, uncovered, 1 minute. Transfer crepes to sheet pan sprayed with olive oil. Top each with gruyere. Heat in oven 2-3 minutes to slightly melt cheese.

4. To serve, ladle some coulis onto serving plates. Top each with a crepe. Garnish with micro greens or herbs. Drizzle with balsamico and basil oil.

Recipe notes: Urbain 40 makes crepes from scratch. Bottled caponata is sold in most supermarkets and gourmet stores. Extra caponata from this recipe can be refrigerated 3-4 days. Extra coulis can be refrigerated 1 week.

How to make crepes from scratch: In a blender, combine 2 large eggs, 1 1/4 cups milk, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon, chervil), pinch of sugar and 3 tablespoons melted butter. Pulse 10 seconds. Place batter in refrigerator for 1 hour. Heat 10-inch non-stick pan on medium. Coat pan with olive oil spray. Pour 2 ounces batter into center of pan and swirl to spread. Cook 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove from pan to cutting board. Lay flat to cool. When cooled, stack and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator or freezer.