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A chef's first try

Crepes are not the purview of only traditionally trained French chefs. To prove how easily they can fit into almost any menu, we asked the chefs at Pierre's restaurant in Islamorada to come up with a crepe filling that would be indicative of what they are doing at their trendy waterfront dining spot.

Given the name, Pierre's could be a French restaurant where crepes are a tradition. Instead, chefs Dino Taglione, 23, and David Leonardi, 25, are cooking what they call "Caribbean fusion with lots of Asian and a bit of French."

This translates to dishes on their menu such as Thai curry seared snapper with green papaya slaw with spicy red chili oil and crispy noodles, or spicy Caribbean coconut soup with shrimp, malanga, boniato and plantain.

Leonardi, who worked on the crepe recipe for us, admits that he never made a savory crepe before. But having been trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., he was up to the task.

"I just went to the stove and started cooking," he says.

He used what he had on hand _ fresh lobster, shrimp and crab; ripe tomatoes; fresh red bell peppers; curry powder for that Asian accent; and bechamel sauce for that French flair _ to develop his Seafood Crepes With Roasted Tomato Coulis. He says there are French people working in the restaurant, so he let them sample his creation. They, like us, gave it a thumbs-up.

To give these crepes even more Asian attitude, Leonardi suggests putting a portion of the filling in the center of each crepe, pulling the edges of the crepe up around it, and pleating their tops to form a "sack" or "purse," which you tie shut with the green part of a scallion. Then set the tied crepes atop a pool of the Roasted Tomato Coulis. Now that's a young turk's interpretation of a crepe for you.

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