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Chef Renée’s tomato and cheese galette

What to do with all those Ontario tomatoes? Galette a load of this recipe!

Tomato galete

image courtesy of AGO

By Renée Bellefeuille, AGO Executive Chef
 

Greetings from the farm stand. Tomatoes are bursting off of every vine and market shelf and I couldn’t be happier. More than 300 varieties of tomatoes are grown commercially in Ontario, and many of these field tomatoes are at their peak now -- firm but not hard, shiny and heavy in your hand. Full of vitamin C and lycopene, the disease-fighting all-star antioxidant, tomatoes  are possibly the world’s favourite fruit (yes, tomatoes are a fruit). It’s a good time to get yourself a bushel but be sure to keep them on the counter away from the sun, and whatever you do, don’t put them in the refrigerator, it will only lead them to ripen too fast. 

There’s no shortage of ways to enjoy them --  tomato jam, tomato pickles, tomato curry -- but my favourite is galette, a savoury cake as rustic and hearty as tomatoes themselves. Originating in France, the word galette refers to any round flat cake, but for me it’s the perfect September tomato vehicle, served beside a green salad and glass of white wine. 

P.S.: If you’re not making your own cottage cheese for this recipe (and you should - Georgia O’Keeffe did!), you’re likely going to have a bit left over. Which is truly fortunate, because nothing goes better with cottage cheese than diced tomatoes and black pepper.
 

Tomato-Cheese Galette 

Servings: 4-6

Prep time: 1.5 hours to prep and chill dough and roast tomatoes

Cooking time: 45 to 60 min 

egg, cheese, herbs in bowl
Tomato and Cheese Galette 1
galette pastry rolled out
Tomato and Cheese Galette 2
roasted tomatoes
Tomato and Cheese Galette 3
filling and roasted tomatoes in galette pastry
Tomato and Cheese Galette 4

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cold
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup + 1 tablespoon cold water

Filling:

  • 6 ripe field tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 2 cloves, finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  •  

Method: 

Crust

Mix together the yogurt, lemon juice and water and set aside. 

In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients (flour, salt, thyme). 

With a box grater, grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients. Coat butter with the flour and begin pressing butter together between fingers to lightly incorporate. The butter should be pea- sized.  

Pour in the yogurt, lemon, water mixture and stir together until just combined. 

Turn out onto a floured surface and press into a ball, being sure not to overwork the dough. 

Wrap tightly and chill in the fridge for one hour.

Cover a baking tray with parchment paper. Once dough is chilled, place on a floured surface and roll out into ½-cm thick circle. Place dough on a tray and return to the fridge until filling is prepared.

Filling

Preheat oven to 300⁰F. 

Remove core from tomatoes and cut in half widthwise. 

Place tomato slices skin side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and bake for one hour or until nearly dry. This step will ensure that the galette is not too wet. It will also concentrate the flavour of the tomato.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add all cheese mixture ingredients together (feta, Parmesan, cottage cheese, egg, Dijon, cornmeal, thyme and mustard) and mix. Consistency should be thick and smooth, not runny.

Assembly

Remove dough from the fridge. Spread cheese mixture in a circle in the middle of the dough, leaving a five cm border of dough on all sides. 

Place tomatoes atop the cheese mixture in an even layer, being careful not to overlap.

Gently fold the dough up and over the edge of mixture, leaving a hole in the middle no larger than 15 cm. For a nice finish, fold the dough in, overlapping slightly. 

Preheat oven to 375⁰F. Brush the crust with a beaten egg and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 45 minutes, rotating once while baking. An additional 15 minutes of baking time may be needed to get desired finish, depending on your oven. 

To Serve:

Allow to cool completely before slicing. Serve at room temperature with green salad. 

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