We like to make things that sound fancy, such as galettes. Doesn’t that sound fancy? Galette. Perhaps we should have thrown in épinards et champignons, too. Then we really would have felt as if we were living the life of Reilly, sounding as though we spent hours slaving away in the kitchen for our dinner. Instead, these are quite easy, as you’ll see.
We based this on the Potato and Pear Galette that we had made, oh, about two years ago. We don’t know why we took so long to make up a variant, or even the same dish again. It’s easy, but we guess that it just drops out of sight until we look in the cupboard, see a bunch of potatoes, and think, “what can we make with these potatoes?” Thank goodness for the persistence of memory.
You’ll see in the photographs that we don’t peel our potatoes; however, we believe you should, and we would, if we were using non-organic potatoes. Potatoes grown in non-organic factory farms are sprayed with a lot: fungicides, pesticides, probably algaecides, too. They’re on the dirty dozen list, so, buyer and eater beware. Of course, so is spinach, so you might want to go organic there, too — we didn’t, but perhaps we should have. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making garlic oil, just use olive oil. We happened to have a head of garlic that wouldn’t have lasted much longer, so one day we peeled and simmered cloves in oil, making a pint or so of garlic oil to keep in the fridge. Don’t skimp on the cheese, glorious cheese. Get the real deal, the Parmesan (or Grana Padano) that you have to grate, the stuff from Italy. It costs more, but tastes a lot better.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
Season oil. Place the garlic oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Slice potatoes. If you have one of those mandolines that look as if they’d remove patches of skin in a trice, and you’re confident that you can use it without a side trip to the emergency room, use that for slicing the potatoes as thinly as possible. Otherwise, do the best you can with a sharp chef’s knife. Once sliced, place in the bowl with the oil and toss to coat.
Slice mushrooms. While the potatoes sit in the seasoned oil, slice the mushrooms as thinly as possible, too.
Layer. Place about 3 to 6 potato slices on your prepared baking sheet to form a rectangle about 2×3 inches in size. Repeat to form six rectangles. Follow the potatoes with a layer of mushrooms and a single leaf of spinach. Dust with a sprinkle of Parmesan and continue layering, finishing with a layer of potatoes and Parmesan. You may have to press the stacks down gently as you work so they’ll hold their shape. Sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
Bake. Into the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese melts and browns and the edges of some of the potatoes are crispy. Serve immediately.
It’s potatoes, so what’s not to like? There are crispy bits, too. Plus cheese. And, it’s all simply slice, stack, and bake. No standing and stirring, no basting, no flipping, nothing once you’ve sliced and stacked. They’re almost infinitely changeable, substituting one cheese for another, adding a layer of fruit (such as pears), or topping with a bit of nuts. Not only that, they look nice when baked, and make individual portions that are served intact. Five stars.