(Makes 12-15 crepes – Recipe courtesy of Chef Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn)
There is remarkable treat for diners who choose to stay the night at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Washington (which I highly recommend, especially if you have a cocktail on the deck before the dinner service and then opt for the wine pairing with your twenty-course tasting menu). Breakfast at The Willows is hearty farm-fresh fare, and quite a departure from the dinner menu, as all the ingredients are familiar. Fresh, local eggs, country bacon and other cured meats, cheeses, and a variety of fruits and vegetables from the farm are the morning mainstays.
Breakfast isn’t as heralded as Blaine’s dinner service, and you won’t find any of the dishes in his cookbook Sea and Smoke. But the meal can be as transformative. Bill Addison of Eater magazine noted
Breakfast and lunch have become special meals in their own rights. They aren’t extravagant whimsies of technique and imagination like dinner, but they are nevertheless occasions where sublime ingredients, like the ones my friends and I relished we when arrived, tell a plainspoken, eloquent narrative of eating on the island.
I found the same narrative as Mr. Addison. The staff who head the breakfast and lunch service at The Willows miraculously coax new, extraordinary flavor from these familiar ingredients. For those who crave very local, very fresh (and very familiar) ingredients, The Willows breakfast is a must-try meal.
But there was one wild, native morsel on the menu that really excited me, as simple as it was: black huckleberry compote served alongside a delicate buckwheat crepe. It can be intimidating to learn a new pantry of unique vegetables and herbs, fruits and nuts. This breakfast taught me to start simple and introduce just one delicious indigenous victual to an otherwise familiar meal—a fresh, plump, perfectly ripe wild berry.
600 grams whole milk
35 grams melted butter
150 grams all-purpose flour
75 grams buckwheat flour
30 grams sugar
10 grams salt
1 pound fresh black huckleberries
½ pound granulated sugar
1 lemon, juiced
Mix the eggs, milk, and melted butter together, then mix into the dry ingredients. Reserve batter until ready to use.
To cook the crepe, lightly butter a nonstick sauté pan and ladle just enough batter into the hot pan to thinly cover the entire surface. When the crepe sets and is golden brown on the bottom, flip over and cook the top side until it is golden as well.
Incorporate all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, then place into a pot over medium high heat and cook the berries until they soften and release liquid. Serve warm or chilled—your preference—with the crepe.