Tuna Loaf, Mushroom and Tomato Crepes with Bechamel Sauce

Today, I was an evening person (If that made any sense).

I’ve always known crepes to be reserved for dessert. Add in fruits, a scoop of ice cream and chocolate syrup and that’s basically it. Only when I bought The Cooks’ Bible published by Le Cordon Bleu did I learn that crepes can be savory as well. Ok, so I thought to myself, since it’s a friday afterall, why don’t I make crepes for the heck of it? I’m a bad teacher. I should check my students’ midterm papers right now, but no, their grades would have to wait. Crepes come first. (before you react and repost this, I’m semi-kidding)

So I made two batches of crepes today. The first one was for snack time, and the other was for dinner. You can make a good guess that the snack one was sweet and the dinner one was savory. The first one, I didn’t take a picture of because once I put in the nutella and ube jam, well, it was gone pretty fast.

Now I was hitting two birds with one stone when I was making the dinner batch. My pantry’s pretty full (annoying) and I used it as an excuse to use whatever canned meat was good for crepes. In the spirit of well, health and wellness, I used canned tuna loaf. But basically making the dinner crepes would defeat the purpose of eating light.

So anyway, taking a cue from yummy.ph, which had a fine selection of savory crepe fillings, I decided to go with a simple filling made of cubed canned tuna loaf, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and topped with a bechamel sauce. Before you label me a snoot, the sauce is basically a thickened milk and butter sauce, so nothing really fancy. But it tasted pretty good though!

I’ll list the recipes in the sequence that I made the dish, which is by some small miracle, systematic because it’s me, and I’m never systematic.

Tuna Loaf, Mushroom and Tomato Crepe with Bechamel Sauce (serves 4-6)

For the Bechamel Sauce (adapted from yummy.ph)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 cup all purpose flour 
1 1/2 cups whole milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir constantly until paste cooks and bubbles, about 1 1/2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper then reduce to a simmer. Transfer bechamel to a bowl and set aside until ready to use.

For the tuna loaf filling

1 150 g can tuna loaf
2 small onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 198 g can mushrooms
1 small tomato
salt and pepper 

Slice the tuna loaf into 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices. Dice the slices by slicing it in three horizontal and vertical slices. Heat oil in a medium sized pan and toast the garlic. Add the onions and saute until slightly translucent.

Add the tomatoes and the mushrooms and allow to fry for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. When done, remove from pan.

For the crepes (adapted from yummy.ph)

1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup cold milk 
2 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 cup all purpose flour 
4 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for brushing the pan 

Combine the liquid ingredients in a blender. Add the dry ingredients and melted butter. Mix on high. Strain the batter and let rest for 30 minutes

Heat a nonstick (preferrably 10 inch) skillet over medium heat. Brush the bottom and side of the pan with melted butter. Ladle 1/4 cup batter into skillet and swirl to coat the bottom evenly. Cook until bottom is slightly browned, about 1-2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the crepe and cook until the other side is slightly browned about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Transfer crepe to a platter. Layer crepes over each other with parchment paper in between.

To assemble: There’s no definite way to assemble it. What I did was to just fold the crepes into triangles and add a spoonful of the tuna loaf and generously top it with the bechamel sauce. I also added a spoonful of the filling on the center of the circular crepe and I folded it until it formed a triangle and I generously added the sauce on top. Garnish with roughly chopped fresh celery leaves.

These were mistaken for pizzas or tortillas, which I have to admit, does make sense in a way. You really have to eat a crepe to know it’s a crepe.

The verdict? The bechamel sauce was good and milky. I wasn’t sure about adding a lot of salt since I had no idea what I should taste like, but still, it was nice and subtle. The crepes were just as I imagined it to be: light, soft, chewy. And the tuna loaf filling….well, next time, I believe Spam would work miracles. And yes, I’ll hit the gym tomorrow to atone.


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