Thursday, January 27, 2011

Galette de sarrasin – have it your way!

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Many years ago, a family friend moved from County Cavan to be with Monsieur Le Chef, her new French husband. While she appreciated all the flavours and foods of her new life in France, she was occasionally seized by bouts of homesickness. In these moments she would yearn for a product not yet available in her adopted country. Taking a perfectly good homemade mayonnaise, she would mess with it, adding sugar, salt, and vinegar in an effort to recreate a commercially-produced “Heinz Salad Cream” taste of home.
I did it my way!  
There are many processed products that are neither better nor worse than homemade, just different - Heinz salad cream... Tayto crisps... Hellmann’s mayo... tinned tomatoes... dried pasta... The French are genius at pre-prepared foods. You could spend your whole life in France, eating an array of wonderful gourmet foods without doing much more than reheating by way of ‘cooking’.
One such product that I cannot yet source here in Ireland is the famous Galette Sarrisan – the wonderful buckwheat pancake from Brittany. To conjure up this distinctive taste of "abroad" I will have to make my own. Like many traditional recipes, (this one evolving over about 8 centuries) there are many variations. Do you make it with butter, or without; with milk, with water, with both? The late Keith Floyd used cider in his version (Quelle surprise!) - and the traditional accompaniment is a boule – or mug - of cider. Allow 2 – 3 galettes per person.
I find it easier to cook the galettes in advance and then fix the fillings. Well wrapped, galettes keep for up to three days in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer. The recipe below is for the pancakes only. The fillings are up to you, though I’ve given a few suggestions.
For 10-12 galettes you will need...
200g buckwheat flour
50g plain flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
2 large eggs
50g melted butter
250mls fresh milk
250mls cold water
2 tablespoons sunflower or groundnut oil for frying

1          Mix the buckwheat, plain flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the eggs and mix into the flour with a whisk. Then, whisk in the melted butter. Next, slowly add the milk and water, whisking all the time until you have a smooth liquid batter. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Needs a bit more whisking ...  

2          When you are ready to cook the pancakes, heat a large crêpe pan (or frying pan) over a medium heat. Carefully rub the hot pan with a wad of kitchen paper dipped in the oil. Keep the wad of oily paper – you’ll need it again.
3          Stir the batter well as some of the flour will have settled to the bottom of the bowl. Take a ladleful of the mixture and pour it into the pan, using the back of the ladle to spread the mixture in a thin layer. The first pancake is a test run – be prepared to throw it away if necessary. You may have to adjust the temperature up or down based on how this first one turns out. Turn the pancake when the surface of the batter is no longer liquid. Give the second side about 20-30 seconds then transfer it to a plate. Wipe the pan with the oily paper and repeat the process until you have used all the batter and you have a stack of galettes.

Galette de sarrasin - The B side...  
When ready to fill the galettes, brush the crêpe pan or frying pan with melted butter (not oil) and reheat one pancake at a time over a gentle heat, with the paler side down.
Some of my favourite combinations are:
·        Lardons, and fried egg sunny side up, over wilted spinach
·        Smoked salmon and crème fraiche
·        Mushrooms, garlic, parsley, ham, cheese and tomato
·        Goats cheese and jambon cru or prosciutto
·        Fried potato, garlic butter, ham and egg
If you go to a Crêperie, the fillings will generally be piled into the centre of the galette and cooked on top of the pancake as it reheats. Just before serving, the edges of the pancake are folded over the filling.
I like to cook any raw ingredients in a separate pan and add to the pancake when cooked. It’s not authentic – it’s just the way I like it.

Fried egg and lardons with wilted spinach - I can vouch for this one! 
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  1. I think it was the cider that caught my eye. Will save this thanks .

  2. Yummm!! This looks delicious, thank you so much for sharing :)

  3. Your galette looks absolutely perfect! I love savory crepes, you have some terrific suggestions for the fillings here!

  4. These would be great for brunch - tho I might swap the cider for a mimosa at brunch-time :)

  5. Thank you for commenting on my blog.
    These galette look soooo tasty.

    Brindusa @ Cooking with my soul

  6. I found your blog by chance but what a happy accident it proved to be. I have a brunch on Sunday and I'm thinking what a wonderful addition to the table this would be. I spent some time browsing through your earlier posts and must tell you I was charmed. I love the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  7. galette and cider, gosh, I miss Nice now. They look just like a perfect brunch for this coming Sunday.

  8. Your galette looks perfect! Would love to try it with all filling alternatives you give here. All sound so appealing!

  9. I learn something new every time I read your blog! Today I learned about a French food I'd never heard of and will have to try. I've had crepes but it appear that they are not quite the same as these galettes.
    I love your filling ideas too! Now I know what I'll be doing with my buckwheat flour next.

  10. I like the way you made it too! Your galette de sarrasin is just perfect! I really prefer this to the sweet crepe. I break an egg on top of the galette and fill it with everything to make a meal, a favorite in the house actually. Thanks for sharing your great recipe!

  11. I haven't found a good place for savory crepes where I live, so I'll definitely try this recipe!!!

  12. So I'm thinking this is like a crepe! Love it! We have only done this sweet, but I'm really liking this savory version. Nicely done!

  13. These are gorgeous! I must confess that proper buckwheat galettes are definitely one of my favourite breakfast/brunch/lunch choices. One of my favourite dining out places here in Melbourne is a delightful (French) family-run cafe serving mainly galettes, and it's always great to see them being prepared right in front of you. I've never attempted to make them at home, I always used to think they were rather tricky... But you have certainly made them sound quite achievalble, so I must give them a try :-)

  14. This dish is so cool! I've never seen anything like it! All I know is that it is making me very, very hungry. :D

  15. This is perfect!! I loved the galletes when we in france and we had a fantastic one in brittany-so delicious. and i've been thinking about making one here, experimeting and trying to perfect. The one i had in brittany had ham, mushrooms, egg inside and dollop of creme fraiche on top. irrisitable. and Where is Anca's gallet serving french cafe in melbourne - would love to know - ! :)


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