The island has been hit with its fair share of cold this month, not that I’m complaining. We’ve had some really amazing natural sightings and phenomenons along with the cold. Unless you live under a rock, you probably have heard about the “Slurpee” waves which formed on the south shore of the island last week and the photos of which have since gone viral on the interwebs and news outlets. I was lucky enough to happen to catch sight of the frozen slo-mo surf in person, all by chance. Iley had fallen asleep in the car on our way to town and I decided to change course and head to the beach, and boy, what a good choice that was. Nature never ceases to impress and amaze me.
There is something to be said for the quietness and stillness which comes with the harshness of winter. Last night, with our bellies full from feasting on this humble galette, we headed out to catch the sun tucking in for the night and were dazzled by an array of wildlife sightings at each stop we made. A seal sunbathing atop a large floating chunk of ice in the surf. A red hawk warming himself by the setting sun in a barren tree next to the pond. He had no bother with us as we crept up close to the trunk and watched him from a short distance. Across the street, a pair of swans were dipping their beaks into the still water, which reflected the bright blue sky above. It was one of those mind-clearing evenings, which only nature seems to provide, and which puts everything into perspective. I am so grateful for this life.
The frigid temperatures outside beckon us to gather around the table to share a warm and hearty dish this time of year. Thinking outside my normal parameters of pastry crusts, I dreamt up a savory layered vegetable galette wrapped in an overlapping crust of thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes. My original plan was to make a quiche-like filling but after seeing what we had on hand in the fridge I decided to go for a layered roast veggie and tofu ricotta filling, akin to the flavors and layers of lasagne, sans the pasta sheets. Point is, this potato crust idea could work for a variety of fillings. I think a fully encased veggie pot-pie filling would be yummy and beautiful with a crust of crispy potatoes on top.
- 1 1/2 pounds gold potatoes
- 3 baby eggplant or 1 large eggplant
- 1 1/4 lbs fresh tomatoes
- 1 red pepper
- 1 large sweet onion
- 3 medium carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 stalks of swiss chard or kale
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 pound extra firm tofu
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- kosher sea salt and pepper to taste
- 2 chopped scallions for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425˚F.
- Thinly slice potatoes using a mandolin set to 1/8" thick cut, or use a sharp knife to slice as thin as possible. Toss potato slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Arrange potato slices, overlapping them into a layer in a cast iron skillet or pie plate, starting with sides and working towards the middle. Save some slices to add to the top of galette later.
- Prebake the crust for 15-20 minutes until potatoes soften and top edges start to crisp.
- Remove from oven and set aside until assembly.
- Switch oven temp to broil.
- Slice eggplant into 1/4" thick strips. Use 4 tablespoons of oil to brush onto slices on both sides. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange slices into one layer on baking sheet. Broil from 5-8 minutes, flipping each slice of eggplant as it browns. You should keep your eye on eggplant throughout the cooking process so it does not burn. Transfer browned eggplant to a plate and set aside until assembly.
- Slice tomatoes into 1/4" thick slices and arrange on baking sheet. Use the same baking sheet-no need to clean it first. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper and dried oregano. Broil for about 7 minutes until tomatoes just start to brown. Transfer tomatoes and extra juices to a dish and set aside until assembly.
- Cut red pepper in half lengthwise and remove seeds.
- Cut sweet onion in half and remove skin. Slice onion into 1/4" thick semi-circle slices. Toss onion with 1 tablespoon olive and a bit of salt and pepper.
- Place red pepper halves skin side up onto baking sheet and place onion on the edges of baking sheet. Broil for 5-7 minutes until onions are charred and pepper skins are charred and blistered. Transfer onions to a dish and set aside until assembly.
- Place charred peppers into a paper or plastic bag to sweat for 10 minutes. Then remove peppers from bag and peel off charred skins. Slice roasted peppers into 1/4" thick strips.
Make Tofu-Veggie Ricotta:
- Pulse peeled carrots, celery, chard and garlic in a food processor until everything is evenly minced. Transfer veggies to a bowl.
- Process tofu and coconut milk in food processor until smooth and creamy.
- Combine minced veggies and tofu-coconut milk mixture together along with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, cumin, coriander, thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set mixture aside until ready for assembly.
- Return oven to 425˚F.
- Layer tofu ricotta, eggplant, peppers, onion and tomatoes into prepared potato crust alternating layers as you go. There is no right or wrong way to do this. I started with the tofu ricotta, then eggplant, then tomatoes, then more tofu ricotta, peppers and onions, more eggplant, more tofu ricotta and topped with the remaining tomatoes. Arrange a layer of saved potatoes around the top outside edge of galette.
- Bake at 425˚F for 45-50 minutes until top potatoes are browned, and filling may start to bubble along the edges.
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly before cutting into galette.
- Garnish with chopped scallions and serve wedges alongside a green salad. Enjoy!