Once you learn certain basic techniques, then you can feel free to experiment. I had so much fun making the tomato and plum galette that I thought I would see what other great combinations I could make. The farmers’ market today had beautiful zucchini and eggplants and my lemon thyme and oregano plants are quite lush and could do with a bit of judicious trimming. I debated about the cheese, but when I remembered that I still had half of a nice chunk of feta in my fridge, leftover from the green fattoush salad, my decision was made. And here is the delicious result:
Savory Galette with Eggplant, Zucchini and Feta
For the crust
1.25 cups, unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (if you have it, use lemon thyme)
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold
2 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt (I used Fage 2% Plain)
5 Tablespoons ice water
For the filling
3 cups thinly sliced zucchini and eggplant (See Note)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
cracked black pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced or crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2-3 Tablespoons of goat or sheep’s milk feta in a chunk
egg, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon toasted pine nuts
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, basil or oregano leaves
NOTE: (Since I went to the farmers’ market, I was able to get a variety of different colored zucchini and eggplants. If you are using the large, traditional purple eggplant and it has a lot of seeds, you will need to generously salt the slices and lay them out in a colander for about 20 minutes. This removes the bitterness from the seeds. Then rinse them well before using and pat dry. Since I bought eggplants with very few seeds, this step was not necessary. Do not buy the gigantic zucchini. More isn’t always better- it’s just more. Look for slim, straight zucchini with unblemished skins.)
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, black pepper, thyme and sea salt. Pulse a few times to mix well. Add cold butter (divide the stick into 16 pieces). Pulse until the mixture is the size of frozen peas.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and ice water until well combined. Pour it over the flour mixture and run the machine just until the dough starts to form a ball. Add the pine nuts and pulse once or twice to distribute. It will seem relatively wet compared to other pastry. Don’t worry! Turn it out onto waxed paper or plastic wrap and form a disk. (Make a ball and then flatten it.) Wrap the dough and refrigerate it for at least one hour. This can be made a couple of days ahead if you like.
- When ready to bake the galette, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Have a rimmed baking pan ready to use. Remove the dough from the fridge.
- Thinly slice the eggplant and zucchini. A mandolin is great for this task, but PUHLEEZE be careful! It is so easy to cut yourself badly. Don’t worry if the slices aren’t all gorgeous rounds – it won’t make any difference to the end product.
- Roll out your dough on lightly floured parchment paper to an approximately 14-inch round. Perfect roundness is not essential. However, do try to have even thickness of the dough. Turn the dough disk periodically while rolling out to keep it from sticking and to maintain the thickness.
- About 2 inches in from the edge, lightly spread the garlic. Then start layering your vegetables, building towards the center. This is not a Chicago deep-dish pizza. You do not load up the dough with as much stuff as you possibly can. Sprinkle with salt, a few cracks of pepper, the dried thyme and a drizzle of EVOO.
- Fold up the edges of the dough and just barely tuck them under to give a rounded look. If you prefer something even more rustic, then just fold the edges up over the vegetables. If the you have to create small folds in the dough, that’s just fine.
- Brush the edges of the dough with a lightly beaten egg.
- Bake at 425 degrees F. for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F, add the feta cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
- Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and bake for 5-8 more minutes or until everything is golden. Remove to a cooling rack and after it has cooled for a bit then take your fresh herbs and scatter them across the top. If you do it immediately, the herbs will blacken from the heat. Serve with a fresh salad and a nice crisp white or rose wine.
TIP: You will almost certainly have left-over vegetables and you don’t want to waste them, especially if you have lugged them home from the farmers market. These are the perfect left-overs to make a ratatouille – assuming you didn’t thinly slice more than you needed and simply left the remaining vegetables whole. Watch for my wonderful ratatouille recipe!