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Use Yukon Gold potatoes for dish

Food For Thought
By Deborah Lee Walker | Jan 25, 2018

(Jan. 26, 2018) The blizzard of 2018 is a reminder of how Mother Nature can change in a split second.

This daunting but breathtaking backdrop befriends the sleepy Eastern Shore upon occasion. This is a welcomed sight as long as moderation manifests itself to the fullest degree.

Winter has taken its time getting here and has no intention of leaving anytime soon. The icy temperatures are relentless; how I long for the season of spring. Everything is relative, and one should stay in the moment. Comfort food is especially appealing during this time of the year.

It is truly amazing how the unassuming potato can be transformed into so many delectable delights. Mashed potatoes, au gratin potatoes, home fries, French fries, baked potatoes, potato salad, potato skins, potato cakes and potato chips are some examples of potato dishes that tickle our culinary fancy. But has one considered a potato galette?

The definition of a galette is a round cake of pastry often topped with fruit. Today, the term galette can refer to food that is prepared and served in the shape of a round flat cake.

A potato galette is a dish that consists of thinly sliced potatoes that are carefully arranged to look like a cake. This decadent dish can be made with as little as three ingredients: potatoes, butter and salt.  For those who cannot resist potatoes, let us delve into the art of potato galettes.

Believe it or not but the potato itself is the most challenging aspect of this dish. Different varieties of potatoes retain more starch than others.

In addition, starch amounts differ depending on how long the potato has been out of the ground. The starch level is key for keeping the potatoes together when one slices into the galette. As a result, the goal is to strip the potatoes of their natural starch and then add a fixed amount of starch that is appropriate for galette recipes.

Yukon Gold potatoes are the preferred choice for galettes. Their waxy flesh makes them ideal for baking. In addition, their creamy texture and sweet aroma are ideal for the layering process.

The assembly of this dish is key for a fabulous presentation. Carefully place one potato slice in the center of the skillet, then overlap the slices in a circle around the single slice until the bottom of the skillet is covered. There are two options after this step.

If you are a perfectionist, one can continue this pattern until the galette is completed. If time is of the essence, gently place the remaining sliced potatoes on top of the first layer, arranging so they form an even thickness.

Keep in mind the dish will eventually be inverted. Therefore, it is so important to meticulously place each slice of potato on the bottom of the pan.

The potatoes should be sliced paper thin, 1/8-inch thick. Unless you have excellent knife skills, a mandoline or food processor with slicing capabilities is highly recommended.

Every galette you make will be different. It is impossible to say exactly how many potato slices you will get into each galette. So, it is a good idea to have an extra potato handy just in case.

Do not undercook the galette. You want the interior to be very tender and the outside to be crisp and nicely browned. Remember, depending on the time of the year, potatoes have fluctuating degrees of moisture in them and cook a little differently, so test to see if they are tender.

When making your first potato galette, follow the recipe to get a sense of what you are doing, but after that feel free to improvise and customize your potato galette. For instance, you might want to add Parmigiano-Reggiano, Monterey Jack, or Gruyere. Fresh garlic and shallots can add a whole new dimension. In other words, feel free to follow your personal preferences.

Potato galettes are not difficult to make and add a whole new dimension to your menu. The golden, roasted crust and warm, buttery center are hard to beat.

So, if you are in the mood for something different, potato galettes may be just what you are looking for. Enjoy!

Herbed Crusted Galette

Ingredients

2 ½ pounds (5 to 6 large) Yukon potatoes, scrubbed and sliced

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon cornstarch

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 teaspoon dried, crushed rosemary

1 teaspoon herbs de Province

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1. Adjust oven rack to the lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Place sliced potatoes in a large bowl and fill with cold water. Using hands, swirl the potatoes to remove excess starch, then drain in fine mesh strainer. Spread potatoes onto kitchen towels and thoroughly dry with paper towels.

2. Wash and dry large bowl. Whisk 4 tablespoons butter, cornstarch, salt, pepper, rosemary, Herbs de Province and thyme in the clean, large bowl. Add dried potatoes and toss until evenly coated. Place remaining tablespoon butter in 10-inch ovenproof nonstock skillet and swirl to coat.

3. Carefully place 1 potato slice in the center of the skillet, then overlap slices in a circle around the single slice. Continue this pattern until bottom of skillet is covered. (Remember, the bottom layer will end up being the top layer). Gently place remaining sliced potatoes on top of first layer, arranging so they form an even thickness.

4. Place skillet over medium-high heat and cook until sizzling and potatoes turn translucent. This step helps facilitate the browning process and is necessary for a successful potato galette.

5. Spray 12-inch square of foil with nonstick cooking spray. Place foil, sprayed side down, on top of potatoes. Place a 9-inch cake pan filled with several cups of pie weights to compress the potatoes. Transfer skillet to oven and bake 20 minutes.

6. Remove cake pan with weights and foil from skillet. Continue to cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

7. Return skillet to medium heat on stovetop and using a potholder, gently shake the pan to release the galette from the sides of the pan.

8. Remove skillet from the stove. Place cutting board over skillet and invert it. Gently lift the skillet off of the galette. Using a serrated knife, gently cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Secret Ingredient – Surprise. “Sometimes what you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all.”

— Unknown

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