Galettes aren’t only as simple as pie; they’re even simpler. These flaky pie crust free-form tarts are ideal for savory seasonal veggies like asparagus, leeks, mushrooms, and broccoli. Here’s how to do it.
When I go to the farmers market in the spring, I want to consume all the fresh vegetables in their purest and cleanest state, as if I’d just plucked them right from the ground. I crave the aroma of young sprouts and green vitality. And then, sometimes I want to melt those green vegetables until they are delicate, fold them with cheese, and wrap them all in a silky sheet created partially from butter. In a nutshell, vegetables luxuriate in a fat bath, nestled in even more wonderful fat. To clarify, that is a galette.
Kidding. Galettes are free-form pies that can be sweet or savory, similar to fruit pies. Decadence should have no boundaries.
Here’s how to prepare them, as well as two recipes, one with broccoli and one with asparagus and leeks, all with cheese. Both have buttery, flaky pastry.
Choose Your Vegetables, Then Cook Them
A vegetable galette does not have to be made in the spring; it may be made at any time of year. First, consider what you want in the galette and how to handle it. Asparagus and broccoli are the stars in the two dishes I’m providing here, with leeks and onions rounding them out. I added mushrooms to the asparagus one for some more meatiness and earthiness.
However, you could use leafy greens, tomatoes, various summer or winter squashes, corn, eggplant, or even potatoes. There’s almost nothing that won’t work as long as you approach the combo with caution. You should pay attention to two aspects: the texture and water content of the vegetables.
Unlike sweet fruits like peaches and apples, many veggies would never tenderize sufficiently in the time it takes to bake the crust if put raw into a galette. Others, such as tomatoes, may release their juices, threatening to convert the filling into a soupy slop. Starches are used to thicken the fluids in fruit galettes and pies, but I can’t think of many situations where a savory, starch-thickened vegetable sludge would be delicious.
In most situations, pre-cooking the filling eliminates extra liquid, tenderizes the vegetables, and concentrates their taste. For example, tomatoes can be baked, leafy greens can be boiled down spanakopita style, and winter squash can be roasted until browned and tender.
It’s also up to you what shape your vegetables take. For example, you could leave them in large chunks, slice them smaller, or purée them for a more purée-like texture. You could also perform a combination, potentially keeping some components separate and layering them into the galette during assembly.
I sautéed the mushrooms first to brown them, then added asparagus-stalk segments and cooked it all together until tender; I reserved the asparagus tips, adding them raw on top of the filling because they cook through faster and make a more beautiful presentation when they’re not hidden in the depths of the filling. Simultaneously, I melted diced leeks until they were soft and silky, then combined them with the asparagus and mushrooms.
For the broccoli galette, I sautéed the florets until they softened, then added the sliced onions and cooked until the onions wilted and everything turned golden.
At this point, you can add any spices, herbs, or other flavorings you want.
Enrich the Filling
To produce a decent vegetable galette, you no longer need to add a lot of dairy. Instead, you may leave the vegetables alone for a presentation that lets the greens speak for themselves. This has my support. But I also believe in capitalizing on the inherent richness of a pastry-wrapped pie. I’m not inventive about this, so more extraordinary richness equals cheese.
I folded the grated fontina into the filling of the asparagus galette. Many other good melters could be used, such as Gruyère, Jack, or mozzarella, or a cheese like feta that holds its shape and adds a salty punch.
I was inspired by broccoli with cheese sauce for my version, creating a Gruyere-spiked béchamel sauce (more colloquially known as Mornay sauce) and spreading it over the vegetables.
Make Sure You Have Some Killer Pastry
When your filling is finished, assemble the galette. But first, make a crust! We have you covered there. Stella’s old-fashioned pie crust is one of the greatest I’ve ever tasted, and because it’s low in sugar, it works perfectly in a savory setting like this.
Assemble and Bake
Filling should be piled onto a 14-inch pie dough round on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving a two-inch border.
Brush the crust with an egg wash for a glossy appearance before baking at 400°F until golden and flaky, and the filling is hot and bubbling. I put extra cheese all over the crust of my broccoli halfway through baking to create a crackly, frico-like crunch.
You may never return to the sweet versions.
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