Flexible Dinner: Galette

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I love this dinner. If I were planning to host a fancy dinner, I'd choose this in a heartbeat. It's unfailingly delicious. It can be vegetarian or meat filled. It isn't technical, yet it looks incredibly elegant. Plus, you can easily make almost all of the components ahead of time and simply assemble and bake an hour before hosting. 

beneaththecrust.galette

The thing is, if I'm looking to use up odds and ends in the house, I'd also choose this recipe in a heartbeat. In fact, I often do -- this recipe is solidly within the regular meal rotation. Kind of like knish, galette works as a blank slate for flavors you've been hankering to pair or for pulling together whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. The result is not only an acceptable, but warmly welcomed dinner. 

To get you making galettes, I'm providing two recipes. One is a specific recipe for the latest galette I made. The other is a basic, barebones recipe which gives you the tools to start making your own unique galettes. Try them out and have fun! 

Pesto Potato Mushroom Galette

Ingredients:

[For the Pastry]:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten (for wash)

[For the Spicy Greens Pesto]:

  • 4 cups (5oz) packed mesclun mixed greens* (arugula, kale, mizuna, tatzoi, or similar greens), washed and dried
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs almonds (or walnuts or pine nuts)
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz) parmesan, finely grated

[For the Filling]:

  • 8oz mixed mushrooms, torn into chunks
  • 5 potatoes (1.5 lbs), scrubbed and chopped into cubes
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 oz mozzarella, shredded or cubed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of sugar

Instructions:

[For the Pastry]:

  1. Mix salt and flour together in a medium bowl. 
  2. Add butter to flour mixture and work into dough with hands, two knives, or a pastry cutter until the butter is evenly distributed and the largest pieces are pebble sized. 
  3. Mix together sour cream (or yogurt), vinegar, and water in a liquid measuring cup. Pour into flour mixture and stir together with a spoon or spatula until dough comes together. If needed, turn out onto a clean surface and knead a couple times to bring together.
  4. Form dough into a ball and tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in fridge for 1 hour or up to 2 days. 

[For the Pesto]:

  1. Pick through greens, discarding any bad leaves. Place greens, garlic cloves, salt, and nuts into a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until a thick, even paste forms.
  2. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Process until blended, scraping down the sides if needed.
  3. Add parmesan, and process until blended.
  4. Use right away, or cover and refrigerate for at least a week. 

[For the Filling]:

  1. Preheat oven to 400. 
  2. Place mushrooms onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, 1/8 tsp salt, and a couple cranks of freshly ground pepper. Massage* oil & seasonings into mushrooms until they are well coated. Spread into an even layer, and roast in preheated oven for 10-20 minutes or until browned and crisp around the edges. Set aside.
  3. Raise oven temperature to 450. (If you happen to have your mushrooms and potatoes prepped at the same time, start both in the 400 oven. When mushrooms are done, then crank up the temp to speed up cooking time for the potatoes. Or, just continue at 400. They might take a little longer, that's all.)
  4. Place potatoes onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, 3/4 tsp salt, and a few cranks of freshly ground pepper. Mix everything together with your hands right on the sheet (it saves dishes!), then spread out into an even layer. Roast in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until browned and crisp on the bottom and edges. Set aside. 
  5. Heat a glug of olive oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add onions and a pinch of sugar. Cook ever so slowly, stirring frequently, until caramelized and maddeningly fragrant*. Set aside.

[To Assemble]:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Remove dough from fridge, unwrap, and place on lightly floured counter. Roll out into a very large circle, 16-18 inches in diameter. Transfer to pan you plan to bake the galette on. 
  3. Spread pesto evenly across the dough, leaving a 2 inch border. Then evenly sprinkle the potatoes, followed by the mushrooms, the onions, then the mozzarella. 
  4. Grab the border of dough and fold over the filling, going around the whole circle pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be exposed. Brush edges with beaten egg wash. 
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until bronzed and crisp. Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve. Enjoy!

Adaptable Galette

[The Pastry]*: Same recipe as above or your favorite double pie crust or rough puff recipe (scaled up if necessary to use at least 2 cups of flour).   

[The Spread]:

  • 1 cup of pesto, ricotta, bechamel, or similarly thick sauce (too much liquid will interfere with the pastry baking properly). Or, skip altogether

[The Filling]: 

  • Aromatics:
    • 1-2 onions (or scallions, shallots, or leeks) sliced or diced, sauteed, roasted, grilled or whatever cooks them enough to remove excess moisture. (Cooking regular onions long and slow until they caramelize is never a bad idea either.)
    • And/or 1-3 garlic cloves, minced, slivered, or smashed and sauteed, roasted, or left raw (if finely minced). 
  • Veggies: 4-6 cups chopped, diced, or sliced vegetables.
    • If root vegetables like carrots, squash, potatoes, etc... saute, roast, grill, or cook until tender (you don't want the pastry to suffer and possibly burn while waiting for them to cook through). 
    • If high in moisture like tomatoes, cook and/or drain to remove excess moisture.
    • If similar to zucchini or eggplant, slice or dice, then cook or leave raw, generously salt, and then let rest on paper towels for 30 minutes to remove excess moisture.
    • If not excessively watery, like corn or peppers, cook lightly but still crisp. 
    • As a general rule, treat each veggie or add-in as you would a pizza topping or for filling a calzone. 
  • Salt to taste: Start with 1 tsp.
  • Herbs: 1-2 tsp of a single herb or mix of a few. (If fresh herbs, use 1-2 tablespoons. Then throw some on top after baking for a beautiful garnish as well!)
  • Spices: 1/2-1 tsp of a single spice or mix of a few.
  • Cheese: 1/2-1 cup grated, cubed or shredded cheese. One kind, or a mix of a few. 
  • Wash of choice: Beaten whole egg, yolk, or water mixed with 1/2 tsp water, cream, milk, olive oil, or nothing.
  • Other fun ddd-ins:
    • Meat: 1/2-1 cup of one or more of the following: cooked & crumbled bacon, cooked & cubed ham, prosciutto, etc...
    • Nuts: 1/4-1/2 toasted, one variety or a mix of a few, chopped coarse or more finely.
    • Seeds: 1 tbs to start and up to 1/4 cup. Think sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, etc....

Instructions:

  1. Make dough at least 2 hours before dinner.
  2. Preheat oven to 400. 
  3. Make or grab a spread, if using.
  4. Cook onions. Cook vegetable ingredients as necessary, depending on relative toughness (root vegetables) or moisture content. If using meat, cook as well according to preference. (Browning ground meats, crisping bacon, etc...). If adding nuts, toast to get that flavor boost! Same goes for seeds like sesame or sunflower. 
  5. Mix cooked vegetables and cheese, spices, herbs, and add-ins of choice. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  6. Roll out dough to at least a 16 inch circle. Evenly distribute spread (if using) across the entire circle, leaving a 2 inch border. Pile filling on top and even out, again leaving a 2 inch border. Fold border in towards the center, going around the entire circle, pleating as you go, leaving the center exposed. Brush edges with wash, if desired.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes until bronzed and crisp. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Notes:

  • This pesto could be made with a variety of greens. Spinach would be yummy. Using basil as is traditional would also be delicious. I added much less oil than usual as I didn't want to fry the bottom of the crust. To use the pesto as usual, like for pasta, I'd up the oil to 1/2 cup as well as increasing the cheese to 1/2 cup.
  • Yes, use your hands to massage the mushrooms! Of course, you could always use a bowl and spoon (and same goes for the potatoes later). BUT, I find that you can tell if everything is evenly distributed much better when you use your hands. Plus, if you do it all right on the baking sheet, you save washing a dish. Bonus, right?!
  • About those mushrooms. I used to think low & slow with butter was the way to cook up mushrooms. This cooking method has me completely won over. They become incredibly flavorful, literally bursting with umami. Forget to get them out right at crisp on the edges? They turn into addictive crisps. Try them. Please.
  • Caramelized onions. Few things are so delicious, but they take absurdly long to do completely. You probably noticed, I didn't. My onions are sadly pale (even if tasty). But, as I laugh about with my brother & his wife, caramelizing onions always take longer than the 5 or 10 minutes recipes often allot to them or sometimes even the seemingly generous chunk of time you mentally block off. Just assume they will take a solid hour. And then don't be surprised if they need even longer.
  • I think the sour cream version of the pastry dough is the most delicious, but other doughs have worked in a pinch, (Read: I had stashed away leftovers/scraps in the freezer). 

Pastry recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Mushroom recipe adapted from Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables