The secret to a great brunch recipe is one that can have most of the work accomplished ahead of time, leaving the cook only to do some last minute assembly and pop it in the oven to bake while you tend to other tasks. This recipe looks impressive, but if you make the crepes and sauce ahead of time, you will be sure to wow your guests. Crepes may be bought or home made—you can also serve this with fruit salad and crispy oven potatoes to dip in extra sauce.
16 thin slices of deli ham, pepper ham, smoked chicken/turkey, or pepper turkey
48 asparagus spears (thin are better)
2 cups shredded Swiss or medium Cheddar cheese
1 batch of basic crepes
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 green onions, sliced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Fill a medium pot with water and set it on the stove to boil.
In a medium-sized sauce pan, melt butter over medium low heat until smooth. Add flour and stir well with a spatula while it bubbles for about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly as you go, so that the sauce is smooth and without lumps. Once all the milk has been added, continue to stir often until the mixture thickens. Take off the element and stir in the cheese, salt, pepper, green onion, and thyme.
Snap off the ends of your asparagus spears. Put them all in the pot of water for about 2 minutes to briefly cook. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, then drain well and set aside.
Lay a crepe on the counter in front of you. Position a slice of ham in the center, then 3 spears of asparagus. Drizzle 1 tbsp of the bechamel sauce over top, and sprinkle on 2 tbsp of cheese. Roll up and place, seam down, in a baking dish. Continue with the remaining crepes. Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
Serve the crepes with the sauce on the side, ready to spoon over.
Note: You can make the sauce 24 hours before and store in the fridge; warm up over low heat to thin out, but if it's still too thick add a little milk to thin it more.
Makes 16 crepes, about 1-2 per person
Adapted from Canadian Living