Thursday, September 6, 2007

Chanterelle, Pancetta, & Cherry Tomato Galette

François Pierre La Varenne (1618 – 1678) was a Dijon-born chef who ran the kitchens of the Marquis d’Uxelles. He was the author of the first logistic, methodically planned cookery books, many recipes of which are still usable today. And, in writing these books as carefully as he did, he captured a fascinating moment in culinary history when French cuisine broke away from the Italian influence it had been under for 150 years (and in which La Varenne had trained) and found its own style and voice.

One of La Varenne’s best-loved recipes is his duxelles, which were most likely named for the aforementioned Marquis. Duxelles are simply a preparation of very finely minced mushrooms, shallots, and often garlic and thyme that are sautéed together and used for stuffings, garnishes, or as a base for sauces. The sauté serves to concentrate the umami of the mushrooms, as does the sherry or white wine that is often added towards the end and reduced until nothing is left but focused, savory, unbelievably craveable flavor.

Of course I tend to avoid time-consuming prep work whenever possible – and you should take it on faith that duxelles need one heck of a lot of mincing – but the spectacular flavor profile La Varenne created is too good to miss. Here I use the same idea with whole and halved chanterelles and highlight their aromatic pungency with a little pancetta and roasted cherry tomato. The result is a free-form, rustic galette that’s fit for a feast but, frankly, heaven to come home to after a long day - I often keep 1 lb rounds of pastry dough in the freezer for this very purpose and just put them in the fridge to defrost that morning.

Our chanterelles are almost finished, and the porcini will soon take their place as the seasonal mushroom of the moment. But Honey Hollow Farm still has some beauties - ablaze like the late-summer light itself - despite the dry weather up north. And this galette is my favorite way of celebrating them. Render out the pancetta fat as I do, so your pastry crust doesn’t become too heavy, and serve your galette forth with a tangy green salad and a glass of something full-bodied and reviving.

Serves 4 – 6

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. very cold unsalted butter (or 6 oz. butter and 2 oz. vegetable shortening)
6 – 9 tbsp ice water
¼ lb pancetta, sliced very thinly
½ lb chanterelles (or other seasonal mushrooms)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 lb shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced into half moons
kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 sprigs thyme
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dry sherry
3 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes

In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, sugar, and pepper to combine. Dice the butter into small cubes with a sharp knife. Add to the food processor and pulse just until the mixture looks like coarse oatmeal. Leave the processor running as you quickly add the first 6 tbsps of ice water. Stop it immediately and pulse, adding the rest if necessary, until the dough only just starts to come together.

Turn the dough out on a sheet of parchment and press into a disk. Use the tips of your fingers for this rather than the palms of your hands – the less heat and movement the dough is subjected to, the more tender it will be. Wrap the disk of dough in more parchment and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Lay a single layer of pancetta slices into a large saucepan, making sure not to overlap them. Put the pan over low heat and allow the fat in the pancetta to slowly render out. Turn the slices to help them cook evenly. Once they are very crisp, remove to paper towels to drain and continue with the rest of the pancetta.

Brush the chanterelles with a brush or cloth to remove dirt. Trim the tip of the stem ends. Small mushrooms may stay whole – larger ones should be halved or quartered lengthwise.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add a good glug of olive oil. Add the shallots and sprinkle with kosher salt. Once the shallots are translucent, add the chanterelles and sprinkle with more salt. You may need to add more oil if the pan looks dry. Let the chanterelles give up their liquid and allow to cook off, stirring often. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring often, about 1 more minute.

Add the leaves from 6 thyme sprigs and season with freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the heat and pour in the sherry. Return to medium-high heat and bubble until the liquid cooks off and there is only oil left. Remove from the heat and check the seasoning with more salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Weigh out about 1 lb of the dough – the rest can be frozen for 4 – 6 months. Let it come back up to room temperature for 10 minutes. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll the dough out on the paper to a circle about 15 inches across.

Toss the rounds of pancetta into the mushroom mixture. Pile the ingredients in the center of the dough. Arrange the cherry tomatoes on top of the filling. Fold the sides of the dough up over the mushrooms, working around the circle, so that each fold overlaps the last (see the photo above).

Bake the galette in the oven for 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Cool on a rack for 10 -15 minutes before serving, sprinkled with the rest of the thyme leaves. The galette is also delicious at room temperature.


bea at la tartine gourmande said...

Oh I can smell autumn in this lovely tarte! Just the type of dishes I love.

Joanna said...

This looks really good - as Bea says, the taste of autumn. What a good idea to make the pastry in bulk and freeze it ... not something I have ever managed to do in my life ;)

I wonder whether you could make a duxelles using the pulse button on the Magimix, or whether you'd just end up with a mushy paste ...


Figs Olives Wine said...

Bea, thank you. The combination of mushrooms, bacon, and tomato has always said autumn to me, and I think it's my favorite time of year!

Joanna, thanks. Alas, the magimix yields a paste or something too unevenly chopped to make duxelles. The even, ultra fine dice is key. But I actually prefer whole mushrooms (or at least big pieces) that are flavored in the same way. Duxelles are a VERY classic French preparation - like tournée potatoes etc - and so I think it's fine to use the treatment in a more modern way that puts the gorgeous seasonal mushrooms front and center!

Rose said...

This is a very comforting meal indeed. I love galettes, tarts, and quiches. I bake them mostly during the weekend when carbohydrate rush takes over me. Yours looks lovely. Can I substitute the pancetta by something else, as I don't eat pork?
Have a nice day Amanda.

Casey said...

Another fan of savory galettes here. Carried Away, an elegant little take-out shop near our beach house in Aptos, CA , makes wonderful vegetarian galettes, using whatever vegetables the owner has found at the farmer's market.
I also make gslette crusts fot the freezer, but have learned they must be wrapped extremely well and really are best if used within a week to six months.

Figs Olives Wine said...

Rose, thanks! I would leave the pancetta out altogether - I sometimes do anyway. It's still delicious and perfectly autumnal. If you feel like you want some protein in there though, I think a little chevre crumbled over the top just before it goes into the oven could be nice with the flavors here.

Casey, the shop sounds wonderful! What a lovely place to have near you. I don't like to push my pâte brisée or sucrée past 4 - 6 months in the freezer. Sablée I'll keep maybe 5 months. And always a plastic freezer bag after the parchment - it's the only way to seal out air, and that way there's a good place to put the date the dough was made.

Elly said...

This looks absolutely AMAZING. I can't wait to try it. You cannot go wrong with mushrooms and pancetta, that's for sure.

r k said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
r k said...

Galettes are in the air - I just made one with pluots.

Figs Olives Wine said...

Elly, it's one of my favorite flavor combinations too. Enjoy!

Rk, pluots sound wonderful! I'll be sure to check it out. Garrett of Vanilla Garlic recently made a truly stunning galette with mixed stone fruits. You can see it at:

Jen said...

Oh, this is getting me in such a mood for fall and it's 86 and humid here in Michigan today! But I am making a roasted vegetable tart for dinner, so that's putting me in a fall mood.

The picture is gorgeous as always and the recipe looks absolutely delicious.

winedeb said...

Fruit galettes are usually the ones I make. But I had a group of girls over awhile ago and I made pizza and galette. They favored the galette over the pizza! Yours looks and sounds yummy. It will be on my list of "to do's" when fall arrives, eventually!

Tisha said...

I cheat and pulse my mushrooms in the food processor. It does make more of a paste, but that seems to work for the pizza I make with them.

No thanks to you! Now I have the urge to make a galette, and it's still ninety degrees out today, my house has no a/c, and turning on the oven is out of the question!

Just kidding. A well-thought out, and beautifully photographed recipe, as usual.

Simona said...

I would like to try and make a galette: your post encourages me to just do it.

Figs Olives Wine said...

Jen, thank you so much! Roasted vegetable tart sounds lovely. I am willing it to be fall myself. I'm headed to Maine in a few days, and it's in the 60s there. I can hardly wait!

Winedeb, thanks! I adore fruit galettes, but when I start craving fall food, I make savory galettes too. Did you see Garrett's stone fruit galette a week or two ago at
Truly gorgeous. Let me know what you drink with this one!

Tisha, I feel your pain! Although we have ac, our stupid NYC apartment oven has no fan. Everytime that oven goes on, the temperature in our house shoots up into the 80s. It's unbelievable. And thanks, by the way! So glad you like.

Simona, thank you! I promise it's the easiest tart you'll ever make. Let me know how it goes.

Cynthia said...

Amanda, I don't know if I've ever said it before, and if I haven't, shame on me. I learn so much from visiting your website.

I can just imagine the pleasure of coming home to a slice of this galette. I think I'd enjoy making it because I like all that slicing and dicing work :)

Lucy said...

Love anything that does not require precise rolling and blind baking. And the word umami.

There's something very comforting about the first use of a rich, mushroom-y thing, like putting a favourite coat back on for its first seasonal outing.

Anh said...

your free form galette looks excellent! I once did a free form pie, which didn't turn out very well...

And I love this recipe! Will have to try it...

Figs Olives Wine said...

Cynthia, you're very kind to say so! And if you like slicing and dicing, you're a better woman than I - we may need to work something out here...what cooking chores don't you like? There may be some sort of reciprocal to be had ; )

Lucy, me too, lady! We are cut from the same cloth. And I love the way you put it - you are so spot on. That wash of mushroomy savor is such a sensory welcoming of cooler months and hunkering down.

Anh, thank you! The problem I've run into is that sometimes there's not enough filling at the outer edge and way too much crust. It all can get a bit wodgy. Also if the dough's too warm when you roll it out, it can get messy as you try to make the galette. Let me know what happens, and I hope you enjoy the galette!

Mercedes said...

Ah, I love the little bits of history you put in your posts, so interesting. I always liked odd, esoteric, historic cookbooks. This savoury tart sounds delicious!

Joanne Rendell said...

its so true. i know nothing about food and food history, but i'm learning so much from your blog!

Maryann said...

Amanda, this looks delicious! I can imagine the concentrated flavors :)

The Cooking Ninja said...

That looks yummy. We just went mushrooms hunting last week :)

Figs Olives Wine said...

Mercedes, thanks so much. I adore old cookbooks too. I have a small (small) collection ranging from the 1960s back. I have a small collection of recipes from Elizabethan England that the Folger Shakespeare Library published. So fascinating to me.

Jo, thank you, thank you! I am an endless source of information you didn't want to know ; )

Maryann, thanks and well put! The flavors are so concentrated, and that's what makes me love duxelles. I honestly think I could eat them every day!

Cooking Ninja, thanks and how fun! I'd love to go mushroom hunting - it's something I've never had the opportunity to do.

The Passionate Palate said...

Aren't gallettes great! I'm with you - they're easy but they feel very special and are oh-so-tasty. Your filling, as others have commented, feels like fall and looks very comforting and delicious. Great post, as always!

tribecachef said...

My favorite kind of flavors here. Savory and great for fall.

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Gawd, this looks fantastic. But what I want to know is what your secret is to looking so slim and fetching given all this fabulous food you are eating?

Truffle said...

How wonderful! So rustic yet elegant. I adore pancetta so this one really caught my eye. I'd love a serving please!

Figs Olives Wine said...

Passionate Palate, thank you! I love galettes too - so fun to put together and infinite possibilities.

Tribecachef, thanks. My favorite flavors too - especially this time of year as I'm longing for that crispness in the air.

Maryam in Marrakesh, you are way to kind - that photo's only of my head, remember that! Things expand rapidly below the neck ; )

Truffle, thanks so much! I'm sending one over post haste!

Wendy said...

I'm off to Aberdeenshire next weekend. Hoping that chantarelle patch I blogged about is still there as I'd like to use them to try this out! :)

Charlotte at Great Big Veg Challenge said...

This looks fabulous.
It is real autumnal cooking - as Bea said.
The leaves arre turning in london and this recipe beckons

Figs Olives Wine said...

Wendy, how wonderful! I hope so too! You must let me know - and I'll keep my fingers crossed there are no retirees rounding 3rd base when you arrive.

Charlotte, I'm jealous. It's going to be 90 here today. Where oh where is autumn? Please enjoy the crisper weather for me - I am absolutely longing for it!

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