Tomato and Cheese Galette

Posted in Food, Meals, Recipes by ameliadean on July 10, 2010

I first encountered a galette last January, while enjoying the free samples at a Parisian boulangerie. Unsuspecting, I selected a small wedge of what appeared to be almond tart. It was beyond good.

A bit of research revealed that I had tasted a galette des Rois, or King Cake, which is traditionally eaten on the day of Epiphany. It consists of a flaky, pastry crust and a dense layer of moist almond filling (also known as fragipane), and is, like I said, beyond good. Imagine my disappointment when I learned that these seasonal creations are sold in French patisseries for roughly two weeks, and cannot be purchased outside of January.

I was comforted to discover that galettes come in many shapes and colors, all of which can be made at home. While I have yet to attempt the galette de Rois, I have fallen in love with its many, less glamorous incarnations. Better desribed as free-form tarts, these simple creations begin with a single sheet of pastry. After adding your toppings of choice, you fold the pastry edges over the filling in an attractive, imperfect way.

Galettes can be savory as well as sweet, filled with any combination of vegetables, cheeses, and herbs imaginable. Depending on the contents of your galette, you will want to make either a sweet or savory pastry dough. For this basil, onion, tomato and cheese galette, I decided to follow bay area chef David Lebovitz’s cornmeal galette dough recipe. The cornmeal adds a nice texture to the final product, but also makes the dough a bit more difficult to roll out. If the dough tears, simply pinch it back together.

Cornmeal Galette Dough

From Fine Cooking (40, pp. 68-73 August 2000)

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. sugar
1-1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
3 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup ice water

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt. Cut in the chilled butter using a stand mixer, a food processor, or a pastry blender until it’s evenly distributed but still in large, visible pieces. Add the olive oil and ice water and mix until the dough begins to come together. Gather the dough with your hands and shape it into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Tomato and Cheese Galette

Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/2 bunch basil, washed, dried, and chopped; plus 10 whole leaves
1 recipe Cornmeal Galette Dough (see above)
5 small ripe tomatoes cut into slices, drained on paper towels
3 oz. Mozzarella, Comté or Gruyère cheese, shredded
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp. milk or cream

1. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 10 min. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and chopped basil, and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool.

2. Adjust an oven rack to the center position and heat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet, preferably one without sides, with kitchen parchment. (If your baking sheet has sides, flip it over and use the back.)

3. Roll the dough on a floured surface into a 15-inch round, lifting the dough with a metal spatula as you roll to make sure it’s not sticking. If it is, dust the surface with more flour. Transfer it by rolling it around the rolling pin and unrolling it on the lined baking sheet.

4. Spread the onion and basil mixture over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border without filling. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer over the onions and season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese over the tomatoes. Lift the edges of the dough and fold them inward over the filling, pleating as you go, to form a folded-over border. Pinch together any tears in the dough. Brush the egg yolk and milk mixture over the exposed crust.

5. Bake until the crust has browned and the cheese has melted, 35 to 45 min. Slide the galette off the parchment and onto a cooling rack. Let cool for 10 min. Stack the remaining 10 basil leaves and use a sharp knife to cut them into a chiffonade. Cut the galette into wedges, sprinkle with the basil, and serve.