Farmers Market Improv: Cherry Tomato and Goat Cheese Galette
Author & Photographer: Emily Kang
I am not a morning person. I’m the type of person that has 10 alarms set and will somehow snooze them all and be late. A 9:30 class may be too early for me, but Saturday mornings, you’ll find me bright-eyed and ready to go, already wandering through the 61st Street Farmers Market. As this Bite article explains, farmer’s markets are awesome for so many reasons, including getting absolutely fabulous produce that’s definitely worth getting up early for.
However, shopping at a farmer’s market can be overwhelming. Caught somewhere between the feeling of having more options than you know what to do with (but which produce stand??) and the feeling of not having enough (it’s not Jewel Osco, after all), it can be difficult to feel like you’re getting everything you need. The stock also changes weekly, making it difficult to shop for a specific recipe. When you shop for what’s good rather than what you’re planning on making, it can be difficult to come up with a recipe without needing to a whole other slew of ingredients (and spending more money). But with a basic pantry stock, it’s totally possible to come up with something delicious that will showcase the beautiful produce you just woke up early for.
With this in mind, start by thinking about what ingredients you want to showcase. For me, I think farmers markets are the best place to get tomatoes. Never watery, they have so much more flavor and are really worth the extra trip. Next, think about how you can make that ingredient shine. Whether it’s baking, sauteing, frying, or otherwise, think about what cooking method will help bring out the best in your ingredient. For example, while delicious raw, tomatoes become almost jammy when baked as they release liquid and their sugars caramelize. Cherry tomatoes have an especially high sugar content, and at the end of the summer, they peak in sun-ripened flavor. Now that I know I want to bake the tomatoes somehow, what do I want to put them with? Consider what you have in your pantry and how much time you have. For me, galettes have been on my mind (probably because I’m an avid Bon Appetit reader and they’ve been… everywhere). A late-summer tomato galette makes a ton of sense because not only is it easy and impressive-looking, it truly celebrates the produce. The simple flavors allow the tomato-ness to shine. Plus, tomato season will come to an end as soon as the first frost hits, making this dish the perfect way to celebrate all that summer has to offer while we can. Texturally, the flaky crust makes a great vessel for creamy cheese and soft, juicy tomatoes. With a game plan in mind, it’s time for a recipe:
For the crust:
1 ½ c all-purpose flour
½ tsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp kosher salt
9 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4-5 tbsp ice water
one egg + 1 tsp water (for an egg wash before baking)
For the filling:
½ to 3/4 container Farmer’s market goat cheese (about 4-6oz), room temperature
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
basil, fresh or dried.
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add cubes of butter and pinch then with the flour. The texture should be mealy, with visible but small pieces of butter (this will help the dough be flaky!)
Create a well in the center of the bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of water and mix just until the dough comes together to form a ball. If the dough does not come together, add one more tablespoon of water, a little bit at a time, just until it comes together. I started by mixing with a fork to try to avoid melting the butter, but I find using your fingertips to be more effective.
Form the dough into a ball and press between plastic wrap into a small, flat disc. Wrap tightly and refrigerate. Let cool for at least one hour and up to three days.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 °F.
In a small bowl, mix salt and pepper to taste into the goat cheese.
Roll out your galette dough into a rough disk with about ¼ in thickness. It does not have to be pretty-- galettes are supposed to be ~rustic~. Transfer to a parchment lined baking tray.
Over these next few steps, try to work quickly. You want to make sure the dough stays cold so the butter doesn’t melt. If it melts, the dough won’t be as flaky. Spread the seasoned goat cheese onto the dough, leaving a few inches around the edges to fold over.
Arrange the halved cherry tomatoes, cut side up, onto your goat cheese.
Fold up the edges of the crust, pinching it together in rough pleats to hold it together. Don’t worry if the dough tears, just pinch it together with the next piece.
Drizzle with olive and basil. I didn’t have any fresh on hand, so I used dried basil, but either will work. Chiffonade your basil if you’re using fresh.
Generously brush the edges of the crust with egg wash.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until dough is golden brown and cherry tomatoes are bubbling. If you’re worried your dough isn’t done, remove the galette from the oven and carefully peek under the crust.
Let cool and serve warm or chilled.
Like this galette, building a recipe from what you have doesn’t have to be complicated, even if it looks like it is. Preparing quality ingredients simply and pairing them with something substantial, like a basic pie crust in this case or pasta as another easy option, creates a beautiful dish that celebrates that early morning farmer’s market trip and makes the most of what you purchase.