July 11, 2012

The Maine Ingredient: Sweet or savory, galettes make for easy, free-form fun in a crust

By Anne Mahle

Galettes have become one of my staple recipes. It's easier than a pie, more elegant in some ways because it's different, portable for taking to another's for dinner without keeping track of your pie plate and well, fun! Needless to say, I'm a big fan.

In addition to sweet galettes, I've been experimenting with all sorts of savory combinations as well. While I've suggested specific amounts, what I've found most useful about these galettes is that I can use the little bits of cheese, leftover grilled meat and vegetables in the refrigerator for an entirely new meal. It therefore goes without saying that no galette in my house will ever be the same, as we will never have the exact same combinations of leftovers. The recipes below are meant as a starting point to give you an idea of how much to use and in what combinations. Experiment away! 

A galette is essentially a rustic, loosely formed pie. They are beautiful and can be made large for 10 to 12 people, small for four to six or even individual. This crust has some cornmeal in it, which gives it a nice texture, complements the rustic style of the galette and gives the crust a bit more form. To transport, simply loosely surround them with parchment paper for a rustic wrapping. 

While these are savory, you can always use berries, a little flour and some sugar for a dessert galette like the raspberry cinnamon galette in my new cookbook, "Sugar and Salt." 

GALETTE CRUST

2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup cornmeal

8 tablespoons butter, cut into small 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup ice water

1/4 cup buttermilk

 Combine all of the dry ingredients. Add the butter and either press with your thumbs or use a pastry knife to incorporate. The mixture should look like something between breadcrumbs and small peas. The smaller the pieces the more tender; the bigger, the flakier. Add the ice water and buttermilk. If you need more liquid, add 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture forms a ball. Divide into four, cover well and freeze for 30 minutes. Lightly flour the counter top and roll out one disc into an 11-inch circle. Reserve the other three discs for another galette. Place ingredients in the center leaving a 2-inch perimeter without filling. Neatly fold over the 2-inch edge toward the center pinching where needed. Bake for 45 minutes or until the centers are hot and the pastry is golden brown. Cut into four to six pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Servings: Makes four small or two large, serving four to six people 

Note: All amounts are given for one small galette. Increase accordingly if you plan to make them all the same. 

CHICKEN, SMOKED MOZZARELLA AND TOMATO

1 teaspoon olive oil

3 chicken tenders, sliced in half lengthwise

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

A few grinds of fresh black pepper

4 ounces smoked mozzarella, grated

1 sliced tomato

Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Heat the olive oil and add the chicken tenders, thyme, salt and pepper and saute until they are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and assemble the galette with the rest of the ingredients, following the directions for the galette crust above. 

ITALIAN SAUSAGE, RED ONION AND FONTINA CHEESE

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 Italian sausages, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup sliced red onion

1/4 teaspoon salt

A few grinds of fresh black pepper

4 ounces Fontina cheese, grated

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