By Rose McAvoy
I love when our family gathers for a meal and everything beyond the table falls away. I feel my shoulders drop, chest relax, and my eyes close just for a moment. We take the first few minutes and quietly chew. On the best of these days I will likely announce that whatever we are eating is exactly what my body was craving. This Tomato &Sweet Onion Galette has been the center of several such meals.
It was conceived when my mother asked me to, “bring a substantial vegetarian side dish” to a family BBQ – an interesting challenge that I happily accepted. I brainstormed summery meatless foods and substantial side dishes, a mental Venn diagram if you will. The summery circle had items like corn on the cob and fruit salad. The substantial circle included baked potatoes and quinoa with beans. All of these would have been fine contributions to the meal but I added a third criteria: whatever I made had to come from ingredients already in my kitchen. At the time I had a sack of ripe tomatoes, a monstrous Walla Walla Sweet onion, and a stocked pantry.
I have come across posts on other blogs featuring pies made without a pie pan. The rustic functionality of a pan-less pie really appealed to me. Something about pulling the crust up and around a filling seemed more approachable than neatly fitting everything into a dish. These free form pies are called “galettes” and a galette was just the thing to turn my produce into the requested substantial vegetarian side dish.
Confession: In addition to never having made a pie filling with no liquidy component, I don’t think I had ever made a pie crust from scratch before.
I honestly didn’t think piling everything up and baking it would work. But I tried it anyway and it worked far beyond my expectations. The finished galette smelled amazing. It looked amazing. I got a little emotional. I had Mr. Second Helpings come into the kitchen so we could both stare at my glorious creation while it cooled. I Instagramed it. I think I also called my sister – the logical next step following a major life event.
Following the barbecue there have been multiple Tomato &Sweet Onion Galettes on our summer table. We have enjoyed them simply or fancied up with pesto and summer squash as the entrée (as pictured). The morning I discovered how well the leftovers reheat in the oven to become breakfast I was nearly overcome with joy. The funny part is this Tomato-Onion Galette turned out not to be a side dish after all. The night of the barbecue, grilled chicken became the side dish and the vegetarian option took center stage.
Tomato &Sweet Onion Galette
- Try to avoid juicy over ripe tomatoes for this recipe. The extra liquid can make the crust soggy and tip the flavor into the too sweet category.
- Make sure all the ingredients are standing by and egg wash is prepared before beginning to roll out the crust so that the dough stays cool.
- Don’t be shy with the seasonings the salt and pepper balance the sugars in the onion and tomato.
- When finished, the crust should be shiny, hard, and make a sharp satisfying sound when tapped.
- If the flavors need a bit of brightening sprinkle with a bit of fresh citrus or white balsamic vinegar.
From The Family Feed – recipe reduced by 1/2 to make a single crust. Enough for one pie with 8 generous slices.
Preparing this dish as a galette allows the crust more of the flavor spotlight than a traditionally prepared pie. The thick slouchy pleats made by folding the crust up and around the filling are a joy to eat in their own right. As delicious as the filling is those flakey crust only bites conjure dangerous fantasies of baking only a pie crust to then slather with jam and eat in one sitting. I probably should have kept that last bit to myself…
Prep time is about 5 minutes. Chill time 20 minutes up to several hours.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces
- 3-4 Tablespoons of cold milk with some fat in it (cow, unsweetened coconut, unsweetened rice, and unsweetened soy have all worked well)
1. Measure all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer. Run the blade a couple of rotations to mix.
2. Stop the mixer and drop in the cold butter pieces. Resume mixing.
3. While the blade is running slowly pour in the first 3 tablespoons of cold milk. Allow dough to begin forming. Add remaining milk as needed to form the dough without becoming sticky. Tip – give the dough a moment between milk tablespoons to change from crumbs to a uniform ball.
4. Once dough has formed roll it into a ball, cover, and chill while preparing the filling. The chilled dough is easier to roll into the crust shape.
Approximate nutrition information per 1/8 of crust: 188 calories, 12 g. fat 17 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber, 3 g. protein, PP = 5
Tomato and Sweet Onion filling
Here is the basic filling — the amounts needed will depend on how full you like your crust to be. Once they have baked and mingled these flavors are light and subtly sweet. Makes more than enough to fill 1 pie crust.
Prep time: approx 15 minutes. Baking time 35 – 40 minutes
- 3/4 lb. of sweet onion sliced into 1/4 inch rounds – Walla Walla Sweets are recommended
- 3/4 – 1 lb. tomatoes of any variety, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds or thin wedges.
- a hand full of basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
- 2 oz. of soft goat cheese, plain or with herbs
- generous sprinkles of salt &pepper or your favorite seasoning blend
- egg wash of 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of milk
1. While the crust dough is chilling prepare the vegetables as noted above.
2. Preheat oven to 350
3. Quickly roll the dough into a circle, working from the middle to the edges changing direction with every pass. Work the dough into an 11 inch circle (or roundish shape) it should be about 1/8 of an inch thick.
4. Transfer dough to a baking stone or parchment lined baking sheet. Pinch closed and smooth any tears if needed.
5. Leaving a 2 1/2 to 3 inch margin all the way around – Layer the ingredients on top of the crust overlapping as needed: onion, sprinkle of seasoning, tomato, seasoning, goat cheese, basil ribbons.
6. Bring the crust up and around the filling pleating and pinching as needed. The filling may need to be “hugged” a little to allow more crust to come up the sides. Once all the dough has been pleated it may slouch a bit but it should stay. The cooler the dough the better it will hold its shape.
7. Brush the outside of the galette with the egg wash. – This step provides the “wow” factor to the finished pie.
8. Bake for 25 -30 minutes until filling is steamy and bubbly. Then increase the temperature to 425 for 5 – 10 additional minutes to give the pie its deep amber color.
Approximate nutrition information for 1/8 serving of assembled pie: 222 calories, 21 g. carbs, 2.8 g. fiber, 4.7 g. protein, PP = 6
Story and recipe were first published on Our Lady of Second Helpings in September 2012