I was having friends over for dinner the Sunday after Christmas, and was cooking a beef tenderloin as the main course. I wanted to make a fairly simple dinner, and decided that instead of making appetizers first, then having a salad next, I would fix something that would be both an appetizer/first course and a salad. I remembered a recipe that Jerry from Jerry's Thoughts, Musings and Rants had given me. This fall, I purchased a bottle of Ver Jus from Terra Sonoma Food Company. I was looking for recipes that contained Ver Jus, and Jerry gave me the following recipe. He got the recipe from Malivoire Winery, where I believe he took a cooking class there and they made the Galatte.
I was so pleased with this Galette. The dough was perfect-tender and flaky. The onions and fennel mixture were soft and sweet, and the Brie cheese was a great choice of cheese for this. The Galette is topped off with a simple arugula salad dressed with a light vinegrette (the recipe just calls for olive oil, but I also added a little Champagne Vinegar). I garnished it with toasted pine nuts and pomegranate seeds, which was very colorful for the holidays.
BRAISED ONION AND BRIE GALETTE
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
4-6 tablespoons cold water
Place the flour, butter and salt in a mixing bowl. MIx the butter and flour by rubbing them together with the tips of your fingers. When the butter and flour are mixed and are forming pea-sized pieces, turn the mixture onto a clean surface. Form a well in the middle of the flour-butter mixture and pour the water into it. Using the tips of the fingers of one hand, gradually work the flour into the water using a circular motion. Knead the resulting dough into a flat ball, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. (Note: I made the dough in a food processor.)
For the Filling:
1 head fresh fennel
2 large Vidalia onions
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
scant 1/2 cup Ver Jus
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste
Peel onions and cut in half through the root end. Remove the long stems from fennel bulb. Using a peeler, remove the stringy outermost layer of the fennel. Slice fennel bulb in half lengthwise and remove the hard white core at the base with a paring knife. With a sharp knife, slice the onions and fennel as thinly as possible across the grain.
Place the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When butter begins to foam, add the sliced fennel and onion. Stir to coat vegetables with butter. Add the fresh thyme and cover the pot with a lid. Turn the heat down low and allow the onion and fennel to cook, and soften for the next half hour, stirring occasionally to prevent browning.
Remove the lid and add the ver jus. Allow the mixture to cook further, stirring occasionally. When filling has the consistency of a thin marmalade, season to taste and remove from heat. Allow to cool completely.
7 oz Brie cheese, cut into small pieces
1 small bunch fresh arugula, washed and allowed to dry
A handful of toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds (I used toasted pine nuts)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
A few pomegranate seeds, optional
2 beaten egg yolks
Roll the pastry dough you made into a 10" circle. Move the dough onto a pizza pan or baking sheet. Spoon the onion-fennel filling into the center of the pastry and spread out evenly over the pastry, leaving 1" of uncovered pastry around the edges. Sprinkle the brie over the filling as evenly as possible.
Working around the outside of the galette, fold the uncovered 1" of pastry dough over the first inch of filling until you have a rough tart with a large exposed section of filling in the middle. Brush the pastry with the egg yolk. Bake at 350 degrees F until the pastry is golden brown.(Be sure it's cooked enough or the bottom will be soggy.) Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
Move the tart onto a serving tray. Toss the fresh arugula with olive oil, pumpkin/sunflower seeds and a little salt. Arrange the resulting salad in the center of the galette. Sprinkle the salad with pomegranate seeds if you are using them. To serve, slice itno wedges, and plate with some arugula on the side.