French Recipe: Ficelles Picardes, or Mushroom and Ham Crêpes
Ficelle Picarde, meaning literally “long thin baguette from Picardy,” is not an ancient dish. Marcel Lefèvre invented it for a dinner for dignitaries of the region during an exposition in Amiens in the fifties, and Picardy soon adopted it as its own. The name most likely comes from its long, thin shape, since it’s a crêpe, not a baguette. Its importance in the region is confirmed by the fact that an entire professional fraternity devoted to it was created in 1997, Les compagnons de la ficelle picarde et les compagnes de la rabotte picarde.
In Picardy, this is eaten as a starter.
These are U.S. measurements. Click here for metric and British conversions.
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/3 t salt
2 cups milk or beer
3 T. butter, melted
6-7″ crêpe pan
14 oz. mushrooms
1 large or 2 small shallots
3 T. butter
4 slices of ham
1 pint crème fraîche
7 fluid oz. dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
3.5 oz Swiss cheese, grated
Individual oblong baking dishes for each crêpe or large baking dish to hold all
- Mix ingredients for crêpes and let batter stand for 20 or 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.
- Pour a few drops of oil into crêpe pan and heat over medium heat.
- Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into pan, turning pan from side to side so that batter spreads evenly.
- When brown, flip and cook just enough for the other side to set.
- Repeat this operation until all the batter is used.
- Chop mushrooms and shallots finely into a duxelle.
- Melt butter in frying pan. Add mushrooms and shallots and sautée for 10 minutes over medium low heat.
- Add white wine. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes or until the mushrooms and shallots are transparent and the taste is concentrated.
- Add crème fraîche, salt and pepper. Stir well. When cream is melted, remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Put a half slice of ham in each crêpe. Add 2 T. of filling and roll.
- Place each crêpe in an individual baking dish or in a family-size baking dish.
- Coat with crême fraîche.
- Sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve piping hot.
I grew up on Wendell Berry and food straight from a backyard Kentucky garden. I live in France and Switzerland, and am a freelance writer specializing in French cuisine. I attended Le Cordon Bleu and La Varenne cooking schools in Paris and the Académie du Vin, worked for the GaultMillau restaurant guide and CityGuides in France and Paris and for Gannett Company in the U.S., and collaborated on Le tour du monde en 80 pains / Around the World with 80 Breads with Jean-Philippe de Tonnac in France; André Raboud, Sculptures 2002-2009 in Switzerland; Ma Cuisine Méditerranéenne with Christophe Certain in France; At the Table: Food and Family around the World with Ken Albala, and a biography of French chef Pierre Gagnaire. I ran a cooking school in France, and owned a farm-to-table restaurant, The Three Sisters’ Café, with my two sisters in the U.S. I organize the Taste Unlocked bespoke food and wine tasting awareness workshops with James Flewellen, am an active member of Slow Food, and run the food writing website The Rambling Epicure. My work has been published in numerous international publications and I have been interviewed on international public radio in France, Switzerland, and the U.S. I just signed on at In Search of Taste, a British print publication, and am now working on two books, The French and What They Eat and What to Eat in Venice.