In “One Good Meal,” we ask cooking-inclined creative people to share the story behind a favorite dish they actually make and eat at home on a regular basis — and not just when they’re trying to impress.
Pierre-Alexis Delaplace can still remember the anticipation: He’d be on holiday, having decamped from Paris to his grandmother’s stone cottage in Brittany, where she would often cook galettes, the savory French crepes native to this part of northwestern France. Galettes are best made one at a time — and four older siblings, plus assorted friends and cousins, came ahead of Delaplace in the food chain. “I’m not patient,” he says. “When I want to eat, I need to eat very quickly.”
Eventually his reward would come: a little buckwheat package of ham, cheese and egg, folded up like an envelope. Delaplace, 37, now makes these rich, satisfying galettes complètes for his own loved ones back in Paris, where he and his older brother Etienne run a brand of perfumes, candles, moisturizers, detergents, sachets, mists and soaps. Their lone storefront is in the Marais but named, like the line itself, after that cottage in Brittany, which was called Kerzon. (“In Brittany, ‘ker’ means chez, or ‘at,’” Delaplace says. “‘Zon’ is a nickname, but I don’t know for whom.”)
Kerzon fragrances tend to invoke primal, nostalgic scent memories, like those of firewood stacked on the floor, or freshly laundered linens. “We have a scent called Super Frais — ‘super fresh’ in English — which recalls, for a lot of our clients, how do you say, the clean skin of baby?” says Delaplace. The brand recently launched a line of dishwashing liquid in two formulations (thyme and rosemary, ginger and carrot seed), now available online. Though perhaps not for long: “When we start with a new product,” Delaplace says, “we manufacture very little. So when it’s going well, we are quickly sold out.”
1. Mix the two flours with the eggs and a splash of milk. Then add the rest of the milk gradually while mixing the dough, either by hand or with an electric mixer. Toss in a pinch of salt.
2. Melt butter in a cast-iron skillet to coat the pan. Add a dollop of batter, which will flatten like a crepe. When it’s firm and lightly charred on one side, flip it with a spatula and continue cooking — perhaps adding more butter, as it’s impossible to have too much.
3. Break an egg directly onto the surface of the crepe. Then surround (but do not cover) the egg yolk with ham and cheese.
4. When the egg is cooked through, transform your round crepe into a square galette by folding in the sides until they reach the edge of the yolk. Remove the galette and place on a plate. Repeat the process, starting at step two, to make about a dozen galettes. Serve with cider.