We've made gluten free crêpes before, and they've been just as they are meant to be: light, flexible little French pancakes that can go from savory to sweet and back again (too much?). This time, though, we're making gluten free cornmeal crêpes, and then we're adding taco fillings—just in time for Cinco de Mayo. Just a few basic gluten free pantry ingredients are all it takes (6 ingredients, to be exact!), and the technique couldn't be easier. Any omelet pan will do the trick, and you'll be a pro in no time.
This is one of those rare instances where I really do prefer a nonstick omelet pan to a cast iron skillet—but either will work just fine. Gluten free cornmeal crêpes batter does need a little bit of extra mixing before you pour the batter into the skillet each time, as the cornmeal is much heavier and does tend to sink to the bottom of the mixture. A quick mix each time takes care of the problem, though. And the cornmeal gives the crêpes a heartiness without making them heavy.
Some of the crêpes I filled soft-taco style, and others I filled like burritos. I wrapped them up tight and refrigerated them for a couple days before packing them for my daughter to eat in between softball games at a tournament. By the time she was ready for lunch, the “burritos” were absolutely perfect. So these would clearly do amazingly well in a lunchbox. I wish someone would pack them for me!
Gluten Free Cornmeal Crêpes, with taco fillings
For the Crêpes
1 cup (132 g) yellow cornmeal
1 cup (140 g) basic gum-free gluten free flour blend (92 grams superfine white rice flour + 31 grams potato starch + 17 grams tapioca starch/flour)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 eggs (180 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 1/4 cups (18 fl. oz.) milk, at room temperature
For the taco fillings
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro and chopped scallions, for serving
Make the crêpe batter. In a large bowl, place the cornmeal, flour blend and salt, and whisk to combine well. In a separate, small bowl, place the eggs, butter and milk, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Whisk until very well combined. The batter should be about the consistency of whole milk, and the cornmeal will have a tendency to settle to the bottom. Transfer the batter to a large spouted measuring cup.
Make the crêpes. Heat a heavy-bottom nonstick 9 inch skillet (or a well-seasoned and greased 9 inch cast iron skillet) over medium heat for 2 minutes. Holding the warm skillet just above the flame, carefully pour a bit less than 1/4 cup of batter right into the center of the skillet and swirl the pan to distribute the batter evenly across the entire flat surface of the pan. Once you get a rhythm going, you should be able to begin swirling as soon as the first drop of batter hits the pan. Cook over medium heat until the edges and underside of the crêpe are lightly golden brown (about 60 seconds). With a wide spatula (and/or your fingers, carefully), turn the crêpe over and cook until the other side is lightly golden brown (about another 30 seconds). Slide the crêpe out of the skillet onto a parchment-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, stirring vigorously (not whisking) all the way to the bottom of the mixture before pouring it into the pan each time. Stack the finished crêpes on top of one another, and cover with a moist tea towel to prevent them from drying out.
Prepare the taco fillings. In a medium, heavy-bottom skillet, brown the ground beef until nearly cooked through (about 4 minutes). Add the cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and red pepper flakes, and mix to combine with the ground beef. Transfer the beef to a small bowl and set it aside.
To assemble, place 1 to 2 tablespoons each of the seasoned ground beef, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, lettuce and tomatoes, cilantro and scallions in the center of a crêpe, and fold over as a soft taco or wrap as a burrito. To make a burrito to serve later, place seam-side down on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 30 seconds or until the cheese melts. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature or warmed again in the microwave.