Monday, September 5, 2011

Heirloom Tomato Galette & an ode to summer 2011




Labor Day weekend usually signals the end of summer.  School has already begun. The weather has started getting cooler.  (Oh wait, wishful thinking, not so much in SC).  But hopefully there are still fresh tomatoes in your life, whether ones you have grown yourself, ones a friend has grown, or ones you find at the Farmers' Market.  


Essentially, summer has been over for several weeks for me.  School has started again, and this semester more than any previous semester is jam-packed-filled with hours teaching (37 in-the-classroom-teaching hours a week) and preparations for future classes (always have to work a couple weeks ahead to ensure we actually have food in classes).


I have some really fond memories from this past summer.  Teaching 134 kids how to bake.  Taking several trips to TX to see my love (and subsequently spending an entire night in the ATL airport).  Visiting family in ND and MN. Attending a wedding of some college friends. Seeing Josh Groban in concert from the 6th row! Finally meeting Helene Dujardin "in real life" after reading (and drooling over) her blog Tartelette for several years. She (and her husband, and doggies) are WONDERFUL!


Helene and her husband get a great majority of their weekly groceries from the downtown Charleston Farmers' Market.  Many times I have drooled over her posts and pictures of their farmers market finds.  I have been fortunate to accompany Helene, Bill, and "the square baby" (a rolling cart, of sorts) on their trips around the market. Having worked almost every Saturday last year, it has been so lovely to actually GO to the Farmers Market.  And it has been even more amazing to go with Helene and learn her "route" through to market.  After all, you have to make sure you get everything you want before the vendors run out and before the market is overrun with hordes of people (who potentially may be, to borrow the words of Helene and Bill, pushing a double-wide stroller AND walking a dog)!


I've challenged myself, on the weeks when I am in town on Saturday, to get the majority of my groceries from the Farmers' Market.  Some weeks, I went with Helene and Bill.  Some weeks alone.  I started getting eggs, bacon, fruit, veggies, pasta & other things on a weekly basis.



Specifically, there have been lots of tomatoes.  Not just any tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes.  Prior to moving to SC, I had never seen an heirloom tomato.  And I was a bit intimated by them initially.  Now that I have tried them (assisted by Helene in choosing the perfect one), I am hooked!  Each variety has a slightly different flavor and texture while still retaining a familiar "tomato-y-ness."  (Yes, I did make up that word).  They're delicious all on their own with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, great in tomato sandwiches (bacon optional, but Dukes mayonnaise not optional), tasty in pasta or with seared scallops (just to name a few of the ways I've enjoyed them this summer)




Another instructor at CIC mentioned a tomato galette one day, and the idea took root in my brain.  Finding a way to showcase the beautiful tomatoes in a delicious dish that could be served at lunch or dinner, and served warm, cold or at room temperature.  I chose as many different varieties of heirloom tomatoes as possible, both contrast in color and texture and also in taste.  I paired the beautiful tomatoes with a cornmeal parmesan pastry dough, a light smearing of whole-grain mustard, some nice creamy goat cheese, a little thyme, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.




I love galettes for their more free-form, lazy nature.  Lots of wow without tons of effort (and without a tart pan to wash).  Just roll out the rested dough (resting is important) to a somewhat circular shape, add fillings, fold the edges up, egg wash, and bake!  Once baked, and topped with a spicy arugula salad, this galette is a perfect hot, sticky summer night supper or an elegant lunch.  And the leftovers are great too.







When I finished the main large galette, I had some leftover pastry dough and a few tomato slices, which I fashioned into mini tarts.  Waste not! Some of the mini tarts made it into my freezer to be packed in a future lunch.  Some of the tarts made it into my luggage for a somewhat impromptu trip to Washington DC to help my sister move.  I arrived in DCA a little before the rest of my family.  When they landed, everyone was ravenous, so I pulled out my mini tarts and we had a mock picnic at baggage claim.  One of my sisters said "Who brings food like this on an airplane?!?"  Well, I do :)


RECIPES 

Cornmeal Galette Dough (with Parmesan Cheese) 
Adapted from M. Kelly Wilson
makes enough for two large galettes

1 lb 6 oz    AP Flour
5.5 oz        Cornmeal
2 tsp          Salt
1 oz           Sugar
14 oz         Cold Butter, cubed
8 oz           Ice Water (without any ice pieces) 
8 oz           Sour Cream
handful      Good parmesan cheese, grated


1.  Combine the dry ingredients in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add in butter and mix until the fat is the size of a hazelnut.  Alternately, cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or two forks.  

2.  Add the ice water, sour cream, and parmesan cheese and mix until just combined.  The dough should have a marbled appearance with pieces of fat visible throughout.  

3.  Divide into 2 pieces.  Wrap well.  Chill.  For best results, rest the dough over night to relax the gluten and allow the hydration to distribute throughout the entire dough.  


Heirloom Tomato Galette assembly

1/2 recipe of the cornmeal galette dough (quick secret: if you don't have time to make your own dough, grocery store dough works beautifully too!) 
2 Tbl        Dijon or Whole Grain Mustard
0.75 oz     Breadcrumbs
3 oz          Goat Cheese, divided
1.5 oz       Good Parmesan cheese, grated
to taste      Fresh thyme
as needed  Heirloom Tomatoes, thickly sliced
to taste      Salt & Pepper 
1 large      Egg, beaten 

1.  On a floured surface, roll out the galette dough into a roughly circular shape.  Make sure there is enough flour underneath that the dough can be picked up and moved around.  Transfer the  dough to a parchment lined sheet pan to build the galette.  

2.  Spread a thin layer of mustard over the dough, leaving a border around edges free of mustard.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the surface of the mustard (these will help soak up tomato juice and keep the dough from getting too soggy).  

3.  Crumble half the goat cheese and half of the parmesan over the bread crumbs.  Top with tomato slices arranged artfully (alternating colors and tomato varieties).  Dust tomatoes with salt and pepper and fresh thyme.  Watch how much salt you add, depending on how salty your cheese already is!  

4.  Top the seasoned tomato slices with the remaining goat cheese and parmesan.  

5.  Beat the egg well and use a pastry brush to paint the open edges of the galette dough.  Begin folding the edges up (egg wash will act  like glue) over the tomato slices and cheese.  Once folded, egg wash the visible surfaces of dough.  

6.  Bake at 400 F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the galette is golden brown on the top and bottom.  Cool slightly.  

7.  Serve warm, room temp, or cold.  Top with an arugula salad (recipe follows) if desired.  


Arugula Salad with Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette
(note, you do not need to use all the vinaigrette at one time!) 

1.5 oz Olive Oil
1 Tbl whole grain mustard
0.75 oz Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Fresh Arugula
Comte cheese (or other cheese of choice) 

1.  In a small jar, combine the olive oil, mustard, lemon juice and salt/pepper.  Top with a tightly fitting lid.  Shake until well combined.  

2.  Toss arugula lightly with the vinaigrette.  Shave comte cheese over the greens.  Serve atop or along side the heirloom tomato galette.  

3.  Store any remaining vinaigrette in the refrigerator and shake well before serving.  

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