Top | Around My French Table
(recipe, Dorie Greenspan)
My friend Didier Frayssou, a wine master who can match any dish to its soul-mate wine, has two qualities I adore in French men: a sophisticated palate and a love of his mom's home cooking. I don't think I'd known him five minutes before he started telling me about his mother's farçous, a type of crêpe or galette that's loaded with greens, most especially Swiss chard. Didier comes from Laguiole in the Auvergne, but farçous are a staple throughout southwest France, where all the moms have their own way of making them. In French homes, farçous are a robust main course, most often served with a salad. Served as supper, the pancakes are usually fairly big, sometimes even as large as a skillet, but they can be made smaller (my preference) and served as an hors d'oeuvre, starter, or side dish. And while I'm sure that moms all over France insist that their combination of chard and herbs is the best (if not the only acceptable) one, I'm equally sure that thrifty cooks vary the recipe without apology, adding whatever herbs they can snip from the garden or scavenge from the refrigerator bin and opting for another onion instead of a shallot if that's what they have on hand. I like the addition of parsley and chives to the pancakes, but if you've got rosemary or thyme instead, or if you prefer basil or sage, feel free to play around. I'm sure that somewhere in the rule book it says that farçous can only be made with Swiss chard, but spinach, however unorthodox, is also awfully good. This makes a lot of pancakes, but they freeze perfectly, so I always make the full recipe. If you think this is going to be too much for you, cut the recipe in half and use 1 egg and 1 yolk.
Serving: Traditionally, farçous are served with a salad as a main course, but you could serve fewer per portion as a starter or omit the salad and serve them as a side dish. If you want to serve the farçous as an hors d'oeuvre, you might want to include a dipping sauce or topping of crème fraîche or plain yogurt. You might also think about drizzling them with a little basil or parsley coulis — they don't really need the coulis, but it's a good combination. Storing: You can make the farçous a few hours ahead, keep them covered at room temperature, and reheat them in a conventional oven or microwave before serving. Or you can pack them airtight (make sure to separate them with small squares of wax or parchment paper) and freeze them, then reheat as needed.