From the Chronicle Kitchen:
The Fresh & Green Table
Let us know what you think about this week’s recipe or, if you are already a fan of Susie’s previous book, Fast, Fresh & Green, tell us what you like about her creative take on vegetable cooking. A randomly selected commenter will be rewarded copies of both The Fresh & Green Table and Fast, Fresh & Green (offer valid in the US and Canada only). Good luck!
Sneaky type that I am, I have figured out a way to do what I love all day long. Cook, eat, grow. Grow, cook, eat. I write about vegetables, grow vegetables, and of course, eat them. The thing is, I’m kind of a sucker for deliciousness—and for spreading the gospel of home cooking—so I am especially obsessed with making vegetables appealing and versatile for home cooks.
I know that everyone (not just vegetarians and vegans) wants to eat more vegetables; the thing is, what do you do with them? How do you cook them so that even the pickiest eaters in your crew will rave? Me, I’ve got a meat-and-potatoes man on my hands—and fortunately a nine-year-old with an adventurous palate. (She eats Brussels sprouts. Recently I told her that purslane was an edible weed, so she’s been plucking it from the garden and snacking on it. Go Libby!) But I understand the discomfort that unfamiliar or badly cooked vegetables can bring to the dinner table.
So naturally I had to write a veggie cookbook. And then another! The first one, Fast, Fresh & Green, featured nine different ways to cook veggie side dishes. Folks seemed to like the flavor boosts and the variety of techniques I offered up, so I thought, what the heck (remember, I’m sneaky), why not scooch veggies towards the center of the plate? Voila, The Fresh & Green Table. Salads, Soups, Pastas, Pizzas, Eggs, Tarts, Stews, Sautes, Gratins—pretty much all the yummy things you could conjure. (Except, or course, dessert. Sigh.)
At first it might seem a little hard to wrap your head around veggies at the center of the plate (meaning there might still be a bit of fish or meat on the side). But if you think of it as just shifting portion size a tad, that helps. Then, if you consider that there are literally dozens of different vegetables to play with out there (and only a few different kinds of meat), you realize you just might be short-changing your dinner plate (and your creativity) if you don’t give veggies a starring role. (Consider Grilled Zucchini, Bell Pepper, Goat Cheese & Grilled Bread Salad, Greek Spinach-Salad Pasta, and Chile Rice with Green Beans and Toasted Pecans your invitation.) In the end, it’s best to start the shift by focusing on familiar veggies and doing something completely different and exciting with them.
Right now, while we wait for our 82 tomato plants and 50 eggplant and peppers to deliver the ripe goods (we have a market garden and small farm stand), the most exciting—yet familiar—veggie at our house is freshly dug potatoes. We forked up our first basketful on July 4th and have been trying not to eat too many since we’re supposed to be selling them! The French Fingerlings are particularly popular at the farm stand, though, so that usually leaves us with a few leftover Red Golds, since customers don’t realize how deliciously buttery and nutty they are. We love yellow-fleshed potatoes, and for something totally fun to make and pretty to eat, I turn them into a galette (which, yes, just happens to be one of my favorite recipes in The Fresh & Green Table, too). I serve the galette with a big green salad spiked with fresh herbs from the garden, and yes, a grilled sausage or two on the side for Meat Man. Make no mistake about it, the galette is the star!
Potato Galette with Rosemary and Two Cheeses
This “galette” is a much easier version of a fancy French dish called potatoes Anna, which you cook and flip in a skillet. No flipping here. You make the galette in a tart pan or springform pan with a removable bottom, and the layers of thinly sliced potatoes and tasty cheeses bake down into a crispy potato pie that’s tender on the inside, golden brown on the outside. It reheats well, too. (Cut into wedges when cool, wrap in foil, and reheat uncovered on a sheet pan.)
3 1/2 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
1 3/4 lbs./800 g Yukon Gold potatoes (about 6 medium), unpeeled
1 1/4 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup (55 g) plus 2 Tbsp. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3/4 cup (60g) grated Gruyère cheese
Preheat the oven to 375° F/190° C/gas 5. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Brush a 9- inch/23 cm tart pan or a 9 ½-inch/24 cm cheesecake pan with the 1/2 tsp. olive oil. (Make sure the pan has a removable bottom.) Put the pan on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Put the potatoes on your cutting board and trim a small slice from the bottom of each potato to stabilize it. Trim off and discard the very ends of the potatoes. Then cut the potatoes crosswise into very thin (between 1/16 and 1/8 in/2 and 3 mm thick; they should bend easily) slices. A Santoku knife works great for this. You don’t need a mandolin or paper-thin slices—just aim to slice as thinly as you comfortably can.
Put the potato slices, the 1 tsp. of the rosemary (reserve the 1/4 tsp.), and the 3 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil into a mixing bowl and toss thoroughly to coat.
Divide the 1/2 cup/55 g Parmigiano into thirds. Divide the Gruyère into thirds.
Cover the bottom of the tart pan with a layer of potato slices, starting by making a ring of slightly overlapping slices all the way around the outside edge and then working inward, laying down more rings of slightly overlapping slices until the bottom is covered. Sprinkle the potatoes with a tiny bit of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon) and then top with 1/3 of the Gruyère and 1/3 of the Parmigiano. Arrange another layer of potatoes over that, season again with salt, top again with a third of each of the cheeses, and repeat with a third layer of potatoes, salt, and cheeses. Finish with a top (fourth) layer of potatoes. Discard any extra potato slices. (If you are using a tart pan, it will look very full; don’t worry, the potatoes will cook down.) Drizzle the potatoes with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with a little salt, the remaining 1/4 tsp. rosemary, and the 2 Tbsp. Parmigiano.
Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown and a fork easily pierces the layers of potato, about 55 to 60 minutes. Let the galette cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Run a paring knife around the inside edge, if necessary, and remove the outer ring of the pan. Slide a thin spatula under the galette all the way around to gently loosen it, and, holding it at any angle, gently slide it off on to a cutting board. Cut into quarters and serve. You can also refrigerate the wedges at this point and reheat them in a moderate oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
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