The Little Foodie: Tomato galette is summer wrapped in a pastry
Galettes are charming in their rusticity, lively and free-spirited, as summer meals should be.
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The pleasure of enjoying thick-sliced raw tomatoes with sea salt at the height of July is a memory in the making. Almost nothing can compete with such a summer dinner, rich and indulgent even in its simplicity.
My 8-year-old eats only three vegetables, raw, and a tomato with salt is a guarantee. It must be red, though. He won’t touch an orange or a yellow one, although I can hardly taste a difference. I just know the vibrant ones are certainly sweet and juicy, in addition to being pleasing to the eye.
Because of my son, cooked tomatoes are rare in my house these days, but I love them, too. Their flavor intensifies as the juices evaporate.
A good example is the free-form galette. While pies are fussy ventures, galettes are charming in their rusticity, lively and free-spirited, as summer meals should be. Don’t worry about chilling times and fancy crimped edges. The only reason you need an egg wash is to give yourself more browned crust to enjoy.
The filling, meanwhile, is a serious mess. Go with it. And don’t worry too much that some will likely spill out during cooking — that can easily be addressed with a parchment liner.
Galettes are worry free, even if you don’t consider yourself much of a baker. Served at a get-together, they will please the high and the low; yet you could make one fueled only by the motivation to feed it to yourself.
SUMMER TOMATO GALETTE
By Mariko Jackson
1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cold butter, cut in tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold water, divided, plus more by the teaspoon as necessary
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
5 basil leaves, minced or chiffonade
3 large tomatoes, cut in thick slices
Raw kernels from 1 ear of corn (yes, it must be fresh!)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Place flour in large bowl. Scatter butter over flour. Add salt, then begin pinching butter to break off and and flatten pieces, tossing them through flour. Work quickly (so butter doesn’t melt), until pieces are incorporated throughout flour and look like crumbles.
Sprinkle ice water a tablespoon at a time over flour, tossing after each addition. You should be able to start pressing dough together. If it still falls apart, add a little more water, a teaspoon at a time. Dough should form a ball that is tacky, not sticky.
Toss cornmeal over a large piece of baking parchment to prevent sticking and add some crunch (if you prefer, use a little flour intead). Coat rolling pin with a dusting of flour. Roll dough into large circle about 1/8-inch thick.
Mix together mayonnaise, cream, cheese and basil. (If you have some, add goat cheese pieces as well.)
Place 4 tomato slices down middle of pastry and top with a third of corn kernels. Sprinkle salt and pepper over tomatoes. Spoon some of mayo mixture on top of that.
Continue layering (tomato slices will begin overlapping at this point), until you’ve made a precarious mound of 3 layers. Finish with a layer of tomatoes and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Pull pastry around filling in sections. Start with one side, pulling pastry up and over filling as much as you can toward the middle, and then overlap slightly with next section, turning it around as you go and pressing pastry together where sections overlap. You may need to move some tomato slices to tuck them partway under the crust.
Beat egg with a tablespoon of water in small bowl and brush mixture over all exposed sides of crust. Bake 45 minutes, or until crust is well-browned and insides are bubbling.
Slice into 8 pieces and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving (not including salt to taste or cornmeal): 330 calories, 250 g total fat, 12 g saturated fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 350 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 6 g protein.
Mariko Jackson blogs about family and food at thelittlefoodie.com. Her column runs on the last Wednesday of the month. Nutritional analysis by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.