Monday, December 9, 2013

Zucchini and Ricotta Galette





Looking for an elegant appetizer or a tasty item for a small luncheon or summer supper? Something to impress your enemies, or delight your friends? 

This Zucchina and Ricotta Galette is worth every minute of preparation: Inside the buttery, flaky crust is a perfect balance of savory cheeses, vegetables, and flavor.

And of course, the presentation is stunning even when it doesn't come out perfectly round, such as the one I made, shown at left.

I found the recipe at my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, and made some modifications to suit my own kitchen and my own tastes, such as adding tomatoes over the top. 

Though this original zucchini version is delicious, I also like the spinach variation I devised, described at the end of the post.


Here's how to make the galette, step by step. The complete recipe is given at the end of the post.

Do try it! It's not difficult, and you will enjoy the result.



Chill a bottle of your favorite Pinot Grigio, and get started.


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Zucchini and Ricotta Galette

Make the dough: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Prepare the squash

Wash and dry the zucchini, and slice it into 1/4 inch rounds. Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. 

Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. The squash will end up rather dry and limp; this is correct. Do not omit this step.


Prepare the filling: 

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. 

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Don't use too much salt; remember that the zucchini will be salty.



Prepare the galette

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round.




Transfer the patry to a baking sheet, either ungreased or lined with parchment. Using the parchment will make it easier to transfer the galette to a serving plate after baking, and will make clean-up easier. 

Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. 



Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge.

























Scatter the tomatoes over the top, taking care to distribute them evenly. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Season with salt and freshly-ground black pepper:




Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.



Brush the crust gently with the egg yolk glaze.



 


Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. 

Near the end of the baking time, prepare the basil.

When the galette has finished baking, remove it from the oven, sprinkle with the slivered fresh basil

Let the galette stand for 5 minutes, then slide it on to a serving plate. 

Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. 



 

 

Zucchini and Ricotta Galette
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Pastry:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled again
¼ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup ice water

Filling:
2 small zucchinis, sliced into  ¼ inch thick rounds
½ cup ricotta cheese
½ cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup (1 ounce) shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup quartered grape tomatoes


Glaze for Pastry:
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

To Finish:
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil leaves

Make the dough: Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Prepare the squash: Spread the zucchini out over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain for 30 minutes; gently blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using. The squash will end up rather dry and limp; this is correct. Do not omit this step.

Prepare the filling: n a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic together; set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Don't use too much salt; remember that the zucchini will be salty.

Prepare the galette: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (though if you line it with parchment paper, it will be easier to transfer it to a plate later). Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the galette dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Shingle the zucchini attractively on top of the ricotta in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge. Scatter the tomatoes over the top, taking care to distribute them evenly. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of the garlic and olive oil mixture evenly over the zucchini. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze.

Bake the galette until the cheese is puffed, the zucchini is slightly wilted and the galette is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the slivered fresh basil, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Variation: Spinach with or without Caramelized Onions: While I love the zucchini version, I also am very fond of this spinach variation (of my own devising). Cook ½ pound spinach very slightly – just wilt it in a tiny amount of water. Squeeze it dry, then chop finely. Combine the spinach with the Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste, plus ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg. Omit the tomatoes, but add some nicely caramelized onions in their place, if you like.

TIP: Choose a cool, dry day, or work in a place with good air conditioning. The crust needs a cool surface and cool hands. I’ve had good luck chilling my marble counters with ziploc bags filled with ice cubes. After a few minutes the counter is cold, and the bagged ice goes back into the freezer for later use. Don’t skip the steps that call for refrigeration.


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