It’s been hot lately, so when my parents planned to visit for lunch last weekend, I wanted to serve light dishes that could be eaten at room temperature or made ahead. The first course was Vichyssoise, followed by these galettes and a healthy barley and herb salad.
We all recently saw Julia & Julia, and I had promised to make Boeuf Bourguignon the next time they came over. But the weather had other plans, so I opted for a French-inspired brunch and the beef stew will have to wait for the cooler months.
I first made galettes about a year ago, and since then have integrated them into my routine on a more regular basis. Once you master the dough (made sweet or savory by adding or subtracting sugar), they’re a template for many ingredients and can be served warm or at room temperature. You can make one large galette or individual tarts. Cover them with mounds of fruit or bake them with a mixture of fresh vegetables and cheese. Eat them with a fork and knife or shove them into your mouth like pizza. To sum up galettes, they’re versatile.
Tomato and Goat Cheese Galettes
Recipe inspired by Gourmet, Ina Garten, and trial and error. Makes 6 individual galettes, or one large galette.
Tomatoes are at their peak this month, so use them while you can. This particular recipe is wonderful at room temperature. They can be made the day you plan to eat them and left on the counter to cool, or sealed in plastic bags for up to 1 day.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
3 roma tomatoes, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig thyme, leaves removed
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps.
Drizzle 1-3 Tbsp ice water evenly over mixture and gently pulse in food processor until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful: If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until incorporated, then test again. Less is more with the water--too much will make the dough soggy. Although I've made galettes with semi-soggy dough, well-mixed dough should leave an imprint of your finger when squeezed, and not be crumbly.
Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and with heel of your hand, smear the dough once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough together, with a pastry or bench scraper if you have one, and press into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.
Make the filling:
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. If making individual galettes, cut the dough in half, and then into thirds. With your hands, roll each piece into a ball, and, working with a rolling pin, gently roll the dough into about a 6-inch circle. Repeat with remaining dough and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, leaving a 1/2 inch edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart. Crimp up the sides and brush with an egg wash or melted butter.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.