It’s almost like someone flipped a switch: Suddenly, everything is ready to eat. Tomatoes and peppers can be harvested daily from the greenhouse. Cucumbers and zucchini grow exponentially in the main garden. Cherries and raspberries seem to ripen as I watch. And in the hills, huckleberries are bursting into color.
The first whispers of “hucks” started a couple of weeks ago, with small patches reported at lower elevations. As the season progresses, ripening moves faster and higher, until the last look could become a near-ridgeline search for the little flavor bombs.
I find pure huckleberry pies, jams and syrups overly sweet – and one batch uses far too many precious berries. Instead, I eat some fresh, piled on granola and sorbet and sprinkled on salads, freeform tarts and flatbread. The rest I freeze on a tray and then bag to later stir into batter for pancakes or muffins and blend into smoothies.
Huckleberries also make a delicious crepe filling. I serve them simply with unflavored yogurt and a soft or crumbly cheese. Homemade lemon cheese (also called farm cheese, whole-milk ricotta and queso blanco) crumbles without melting even on warm crepes, and softer chèvre or fromage blanc can be smeared on. You could instead take a decadent dessert route with crème fraîche and dark chocolate shavings. Other small fruit and berries, like blackberries, are also tasty crepe fillers.
Huckleberry and Cheese Crepes
Makes 10-12 crepes
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ultrafine sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Butter or sunflower oil for cooking
1-1/2 cups crumbly or soft cheese, such as ricotta or chèvre
1 cup huckleberries
3/4 cup yogurt
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk in the flour, sugar, salt and 1/4 cup of milk until the batter changes from thick and lumpy to smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk and the melted butter until just incorporated; if thicker than heavy cream, thin with up to 1 tablespoon of water.
Lightly butter or oil an 8-inch nonstick skillet and set it over medium-high heat until hot. In a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop up about 3 tablespoons of batter. Pour it into the pan in a circular motion, and then quickly tilt and circle the skillet in the same direction, until the batter evenly coats the bottom and no longer spreads. Cook for about 40 seconds, until the edge begins to curl and the crepe’s underside is lightly brown. Slip a spatula under the curled edge to flip the crepe. Cook another 20 seconds, and then flip onto a plate with the most recently cooked side facing up. Repeat with the remaining batter, regreasing the pan after each crepe.
To serve, spread about 2 tablespoons of cheese and 1 tablespoon of huckleberries in a line down a crepe’s center. Fold the crepe’s opposing edges over the filling and weigh down the overlap with a dollop of yogurt. Top with additional cheese and huckleberries.
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