Before we get into the meat of this (meatless) recipe, I feel it should be known that this dish bears the distinct honor of having received the title of “nomnomnomTHIS IS THE BEST THING YOU’VE EVER MADEnomnom.” I use caps not to indicate the significance of such recognition, but because I feel only they can come close to conveying the passion with which these words were uttered. Do I agree with this bold statement? Although the galette was good, it’s missing what I believe to be the key ingredient in any truly wondrous dish: rainbow sprinkles. Or figs (obviously). One or the other, but definitely not both… simultaneously, at least. Now, I realize that limiting my nomination for “best dish ever” to sprinkle-bearing items is not really fair considering you can’t really put them on much outside of the ‘dessert’ category, but hey: my blog, my rules. Besides, that’s where the figs come in. Anyway, regardless of its sprinkle-and-fig-based shortcomings, the galette was pretty amazing.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get into something a little more topical: precisely whata galette is. First, what it is not: a galette is not a fashion designer, French socialite, hair accessory, type of fish, or Impressionist painter. What it sort of is or could be: a cake, pie, quiche, pizza, glorified cookie, or boat. What it most definitely is: a galette is a freeform, flaky tart with sweet, savory, or savory-sweet filling that’s baked not in a pie dish or tart shell, but hand formed, slapped on a baking sheet and baked in the oven until its golden and delicious.
We’ve established what a galette is (and is not), but what about summer squash? Although sometimes used to describe the bright yellow gourd shown below, the term “summer squash” actually defines a whole subset of the squash family that—you guessed it—flourishes in the summertime.
Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash
Besides the afore-mentioned yellow variety, zucchini and the scalloped, flower-shaped Patty Pan squashes also fall into this category. Thanks to an impressive selection in this week’s CSA box, I was able to use not only Zebra (striped) zucchini, but also Zephyr (looks like someone dipped the tip of your archetypal yellow summer squash into bright green paint) and Cousa (a Middle Eastern zucchini-like variety) squashes, too. The unique coloring of each of the varietals’ skin made for a very pretty end product.
Cousa, Zephyr, and Zebra squashes, sliced and ready to drain.
If you actually want to make the Summer Squash Galette with Ricotta (and I recommend you do), here’s how to go about it:
For the crust:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, cut into ½ inch pieces then put back in refrigerator to re-harden
¼ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ cup + 1 teaspoon ice water
1 egg yolk
For the filling:
2 medium or 3 small summer squashes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced
¾ cup ricotta cheese (I used Calabro brand part skim- you could play around with the fat content of the ricotta you choose, but I definitely recommend sticking to Calabro. It’s the best I’ve found that you can buy at regular grocery stores.)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
At least 1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
What to do:
First, make the crust. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Grab your cubed butter out of the fridge and add it to the cold flour and salt. Using a pastry cutter (or, if you’re like me and haven’t gotten around to getting one yet, a fork), cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine gravel.
This is aquarium gravel. This is also what your butter/flour mixture should look like, except not rocks.
This took some muscle and time using the fork, but I promise you, mixture will eventually come together. If at any time while you’re cutting together the mixture you notice the butter starts to melt into the flour and form a paste instead of remaining as discrete bits, stick the bowl in the freezer for a couple minutes (or as long as it takes) to let the butter to solidify again.
Butter/flour mixture, almost ready for sour cream.
During these re-chillings, take the opportunity to whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice, and water. Once you’re satisfied with the consistency of your butter/flour mixture, add in this thinned sour cream and mix until large lumps of dough form. Don’t keep mixing until the lumps coalesce into homogenous dough–once you start to see the dough clumping, simply pat it into a ball and let that be that. Keep in mind that ideally, you want to mix this wetted flour mixture as little as possible. Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. First, cut whatever variety/varieties of squash you choose into ¼ inch thick slices. Spread out these slices on several layers of paper towels, sprinkle them with ½ teaspoon salt, and let them drain for 30 minutes.
Squash slices, salted and draining.
While the squash slices are draining, combine the olive oil and minced garlic in a small bowl; set aside. In another bowl, mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and one teaspoon of the garlicky olive oil you just made.
After the dough has sat for an hour and the squash drained for 30 minutes, it’s time to assemble the galette. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, then flour your work surface and roll out the dough into a 12-inch round. If you’re having trouble visualizing how large your circle should be, grab a sheet of letter-size paper: the long side measures 11 inches, so the diameter of your round should extend just a little past the ends of the paper when it’s laid lengthwise across the center of the dough. Transfer this round to either an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Spread the ricotta mixture evenly across the dough round, leaving a 2-inch border (2 inches is roughly equivalent to the width your pointer, middle, and ring finger when they’re held together) around the edges.
Galette dough, rolled out into a rough 12-inch round and ricotta mixture spread on top.
Blot the tops of your now-drained squash slices with dry paper towels, then lay them out on your ricotta’d dough in slightly overlapping concentric circles.
It’s a squash flower!
Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of garlicky olive oil over the squash, and then fold your 2-inch dough border up over the outside edges of the filling to make a crust of sorts. You might have some trouble getting the dough border to lie evenly or smoothly over the filling, but don’t worry- just try and make your crust as even as possible and it’ll be delicious.
Beat the egg yolk with the teaspoon of water and brush the crust with this glaze, and then in the oven the galette goes!
Bake the galette until the cheese is uniformly puffed, the squash is slightly brown around the edges, and the crust is a rich golden brown- about 35-45 minutes. When the galette is done, take it out of the oven, sprinkle it with the sliced basil, then let it stand for 5 minutes.
The finished galette, cooling before we devoured it.
Five minutes has never felt so long, but finally it’s done! The galette is done! Congratulations! Now, eat the entire thing in under an hour… we did.