It seems that this year we took a lot longer to plan our Christmas day dinner, and it wasn’t until Monday that we had the menu firmed up. The most difficult course was the main; we didn’t want to buy a lot of things from the store, as we already had staples in the house, and it’s never fun shopping right before Christmas. So, we were tossing around ideas, thinking of what we’d need to pick up, and whether it would be fresh and tasty, when we hit upon the idea of a galette.
At first, we thought of picking up some cherry tomatoes to make something like the Eggplant, Rosemary, and Thyme Galette, but we knew that, even though cherry tomatoes are the most flavorful, store-bought tomatoes are sadly lacking. So, that was out (after all, it’s Christmas dinner). Then we figured, let’s use up a log of fresh chèvre (goat cheese) that we have from the CSA. Okay, but how? Perhaps in a cream sauce. Yeah, with potatoes. Cream and cheese pair well with potatoes. And, before you know it, the idea for this galette came to fruition.
Makes 1 large galette (rustic savory pie).
We used fresh goat cheese that we get from Black Mesa Ranch through the CSA. It’s an excellent cheese, without a strong goat-y flavor (we don’t like goat-y tasting cheese). We think that’s because it’s made from the milk of happy goats that are well cared for (we’ve met the goats). If possible, search out and support a local cheese-making operation like this. They’ll be happy for your business, and you’ll get great cheese. A win-win! For the potatoes, we used a mix of Yukon Gold potatoes and sweet potatoes. Feel free to mix and match as is your wont. Just remember, potatoes are normally sprayed with prodigious amounts of pesticides and fungicides, so, if you don’t get organic, consider peeling the potatoes before use. Heavy cream, use organic if you can, as it doesn’t have that seaweed (who needs that?) extract to make it seem thicker. Finally, we refer you to the Bouchon Bakery Pâte Brisée, because it’s super-simple to make, and has never failed to produce a flaky, tender crust.
Procedure in detail:
There are three parts to making this galette: grilling of the potato slices, making the cream sauce, and assembling and baking the galette. Of course, you can do the grilling long before assembling everything, which makes it less stressful and allows you more time for other items on your menu.
Make marinade. In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, thyme, oregano, dill, chervil, salt, and pepper. Stir it until it’s well blended. And feel free to change the herbs and spices to suit your taste; they’re not written in stone.
Prep potatoes. Slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices. We sliced them along the longest dimension, so they’d be less likely to fall through into the ashes. One of ours slipped through anyway, which we considered a sacrifice to the cooking gods. Toss the slices in the marinade and let sit for at about 10 minutes, tossing from time to time to keep everything well-coated.
Grill potatoes. Fire up your grill (we used a wood fire with mesquite) and get it nice and hot. Place the potato slices on the grill and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes on a side. They don’t have to be completely cooked, as they’ll be in the oven later, so you’re really trying to get them to have a smoky flavor. Once grilled, set the potatoes aside while you make the rest of the galette.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Roll out dough. Roll out the dough to form a large oval. It doesn’t have to be perfect; after all, it’s a rustic savory pie (that’s one of the reasons we like galettes; they’re quite forgiving when it comes to rolling), but it should be about 13×18 inches in size. Place it on your baking sheet and refrigerate while you make the cream sauce.
Thicken cream. In a large skillet over medium heat, bring the cream, bay leaf, nutmeg, and rosemary to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by about half. Remove bay leaf.
Add cheese. With the cream still simmering, add the cheese and stir until melted and thoroughly mixed. Remove from heat. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Layer potatoes. Take the crust from the refrigerator and layer the potatoes in the center, leaving an edge of crust about 2 inches wide. Once layered, fold that edge up and over the potatoes, crimping in spots to hold its shape.
Add cream sauce. Carefully pour the cream sauce over the potatoes, trying to keep it from leaking out (we failed).
Bake. Slide the galette into the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and light brown in places.
Rest. Remove from the oven and let galette set up for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving.
Since we started having galettes, we just fell in love with them. They’re easy to put together, and, depending on the ingredients, you don’t even need a side dish. Sort of a pot pie in reverse, as the crust is on the bottom and not the top. They also have the advantage of being free-form, so you can make it any shape or size that you wish, even as individual galettes for a group of people. This galette in particular was really good, with a nice smoky flavor in the potatoes, plus that creamy chèvre sauce. It was like an exotic version of potatoes gratin in a flaky, tender crust. Not exactly what you expect for potatoes, but it’s always nice to mix it up a bit. We think this is a five-star dish, but we will say that it’s best the day it’s made, as it doesn’t reheat very well (it’s not bad, but just not quite as good).