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SPINACH CREPES -- SNAILS OPTIONAL

The original recipe for these tasty spinach crepes is in the Virgin Islands Cookbook, a small booklet featuring recipes from famous restaurants in the Virgin Islands. I found the book in a small shop on St. Thomas while I was on the Windstar Christmas cruise in the Caribbean in December, and bought it for this particular recipe. The dish interested me because it featured escargot served in crepes and I thought it could be easily adapted for an unusual light dish.

The recipe is from Entre Nous, a restaurant on St. Thomas, located in a lofty tower high on a hill. Legend has it that a handsome, swashbuckling pirate, with hair and beard so black they shone blue in the sunlight, built the tower as a fortress on St. Thomas in 1585. Known as Bluebeard, the famous buccaneer sailed away one day, with his lovely bride, never to return.

If you wish to fill the crepes with escargot, as was done in the original recipe, I suggest buying a can of the snails, draining and rinsing them thoroughly, then cooking them for about two minutes in a hot skillet with a very small amount of extra-virgin olive oil seasoned with fresh garlic.

SPINACH CREPES

1 package (6 ounces) baby spinach leaves

2 egg whites

1 whole egg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup low-fat (2 percent) milk

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 shallot, minced (2 tablespoons)
Steam the spinach leaves, covered, over rapidly boiling water for 1 minute. Squeeze all of the moisture out of the steamed spinach leaves, finely chop and set aside.

Combine the egg whites, egg, salt, pepper, milk and olive oil in a large bowl. Using a whisk, mix until well blended. Slowly whisk in the flour. Add the shallots and the spinach and mix well using a spoon. Allow to stand at least 15 minutes before making the crepes.

Spray a non-stick 7-inch crepe pan or skillet with non-stick cooking spray and place over medium heat. Heat until hot enough that drops of water dance on the surface before evaporating.

Using a paper towel, wipe out the inner surface of the skillet. Spoon 1/4 cup of the crepe batter into the hot skillet, tilting the pan until the batter covers the entire inner surface of the pan. Allow to cook for about 1 minute. Turn the crepe over and cook for about 15 to 30 seconds more, or until lightly browned.

Makes 10 crepes. Each crepe contains approximately 82 calories; 23 milligrams cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 97 milligrams sodium; 4 grams protein; 12 grams carbohydrates.

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