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Crepes add an elegant touch to day-after-Thanksgiving meal

Turkey Crepes with Pistachio Pesto at Sarello's in Moorhead. The Pistachio Pesto adds a bright, nutty flavor to this simple yet elegant treatment of Thanksgiving leftovers. (David Samson / The Forum)

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us in just a day, it only seems appropriate to offer a suggestion on what to do with your leftover turkey.

And our recipe for Turkey Crepes is a great alternative to the standard fare.

"Most leftover turkey is either just reheated or turned into a sandwich, and that's fine," Tony says. "But this recipe allows you to be more creative with your leftovers. It's elegant, different, simple and delicious."

Tony created this recipe for a cooking class he taught back in 2008, and it has become our go-to "leftover turkey" dish ever since. I have to admit, we're fairly spoiled on this holiday. Tony, with his mad knife skills, carves the turkey, I bring the cranberry sauce, and my sister-in-law (another Sarah) bakes three to four different pies from scratch.

But my mother does nearly all of the cooking, and she's a bit of a culinary magician to me. Somehow she manages to serve at least a half-dozen side dishes in addition to the turkey and still gets herself and all that food to the table hot and on time.

And she always makes sure that we leave with some leftovers.

We serve lunch every Friday at Sarello's with the exception of the day after Thanksgiving. It is one of the few days of the year that my husband will actually sleep in - a result, I suspect, of all that tryptophan - so there isn't a lot of time to hang out together before it's time for him to get ready for the evening service.

That's why I love this recipe. The preparation is quick and simple, and if you aren't familiar with making crepes, you can find them pre-made in the produce section of our local grocery stores.

The ingredient that makes this recipe special is the Pistachio Pesto. Its brightness, texture and nutty flavor make the dish come alive. It's also easy to make and can be done the night before or even up to a week in advance if refrigerated. Any leftover pesto can be frozen for up to two months.

We spread the pesto along the inside of each crepe before assembling them, which you can do right before you start cooking. After you've finished preparing the crepes, lay them on a sheet pan and set aside till later.

Using a saute pan, heat up the leftover turkey, mixing in heavy cream and Fontina cheese to add flavor and keep it moist.

"Fontina is a great choice for this recipe. It's Italian, so there's that, but it also has really great flavor and melting properties. Fontina is a mild, nutty cheese, with an undertone of tanginess that brings a little extra zing to this dish."

Once the cream has reduced and the cheese is melted, spoon the turkey mixture onto each crepe and roll it up, returning it to the sheet pan when done. Pop the tray into a 350-degree oven for two to three minutes just to warm the crepes, and voila! They're ready to serve.

"And you know, the turkey doesn't want to be alone, so give it some company on the plate," Tony says. "You can utilize leftover cranberry sauce by warming it up first and then drizzling some right down the middle of each crepe before serving. This adds a burst of color, and its sweetness brings a nice contrast in flavor to the dish."

This recipe can also be enjoyed throughout the year by using a whole turkey breast instead of leftovers.

So set aside the plan for sandwiches and give these Turkey Crepes a try. We think you'll just gobble them up.


Pistachio Pesto

Makes: approx. 1½ cups of pesto


1 cup shelled, salted, roasted pistachios

1 teaspoon minced garlic

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup olive oil


In a food processor, pulse together the pistachios, garlic and cheese until combined. Turn processor to "on" mode and add the olive oil, pouring in a slow, steady stream. Run the processor until the pesto is mostly smooth, but still slightly chunky.

Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

To store, cover and refrigerate up to one week.


Turkey Crepes

Serves: 4 to 6


3 cups leftover turkey meat or 12 oz. sauteed turkey breast, cut into ½ inch cubes

3 oz. heavy cream

3 tablespoons Pistachio Pesto (see recipe, Page B5)

½ cup Fontina cheese, grated

4-6 individual crepes

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.


In a saute pan, combine the cubed turkey meat and cream on low heat until the turkey is heated and the cream has reduced, about five minutes. Take the pan off the heat and mix in the pesto and Fontina cheese until melted, returning to the burner if necessary. Taste the mixture, and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Put the turkey mixture on the lower third of each crepe, and roll it up with the seam on the bottom. Place each crepe roll on a greased sheet pan, seam-side down and bake until the crepes are warm, about two minutes.

Heat up some leftover cranberry sauce (if available) while the crepes are in the oven and drizzle over each crepe before serving.

To saute the turkey breast:

Dredge the turkey breast in flour and saute in oil over medium heat until golden brown, about two minutes per side. Finish cooking the turkey breast in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until thoroughly cooked - cut in the center of the turkey breast to check that it's thoroughly done.

Home with the Lost Italian is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owns Sarello's restaurant in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their 8-year-old son, Giovanni.