City of light(er) fare

In his new book, famed chef Alain Ducasse explores the healthy side of his beloved French cuisine.

Alain Ducasse might be known for his fancy French creations — decadent rum babas, sautéed foie gras, truffly veal and sweetbreads — but he himself eats quite healthfully while traveling between his 25 global restaurants. “I was brought up on a farm, eating the produce of the farm and garden three times a day,” he writes in the whimsical cartoon-illustrated forward of his new cookbook, Nature: Simple, Healthy, and Good. “It was something of a paradise on earth, and it formed my eating habits and my sense of taste.” Co-written with nutritionist Paule Neyrat, the book is filled with nutrient-rich, veggie-based recipes that, while healthy, are still decidedly fancy and French. Here’s how to make a crepes-and-sausage dish that, when paired with salad and dessert, Ducasse deems the perfect Sunday supper.

Buckwheat Crêpes with Andouille Sausage and Leeks
Serves 4

½ c. buckwheat flour
1/3 c. pastry flour
2 large eggs
1 ½ c. low fat milk
3 tbsp. lightly salted butter
2 small leeks
olive oil
12 thin slices Andouille de Guéméné (or other coarse-grained smoked pork sausage)


1. Put buckwheat flour and pastry flour in a bowl. Mix together and make a well in the center.

2. Separate the egg whites and yolks and drop the yolks in the well.

3. Mix, gradually adding low fat milk.

4. Cut butter into pieces and melt in a small pan until lightly golden. Pour into the batter, beating well as you do so.

5. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold them gently into the batter, stirring constantly in the same direction so that they don’t collapse.

6. Cover the bowl with a clean dishtowel and leave the batter to rest for 1 hour.

7. Wash leeks, cut off the base, remove the green part, take off the outer leaf, and cut them at an angle into slices about 1/8 inch thick.

8. Heat a splash of olive oil in a nonstick sauté pan, add the leeks, season with salt, and sweat for 2 minutes, keeping them crunchy.

9. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and lay them on a plate.

10. Take the skin off sausage, then shred.

11. Return the nonstick sauté pan to the heat. When it’s hot, scatter a spoonful of leeks and 3 slices of andouille, and cook for just 20 seconds. Then pour a small ladle of batter and spread it over the whole surface of the pan.

12. Cook until the edges of the crêpe begin to color, then flip or turn it with a spatula and cook the other side for approximately 1 minute.

13. Lay the crêpe on a plate and keep warm. Cook the other three crêpes in the same way.