Good evening, friends and neighbors!
I was standing at the range in the cafe the other day. On Wednesdays, Victoria and I work together, and she tends to have me do the day-to-day production while she does macarons, special orders, and R+D’s new recipes. One of my duties, therefore, is to make the savory galette for morning bake to finish.
Galettes are a rustic tart- essentially a disc of pie dough piled with fillings, the edge folded up to contain them, and then baked flat. For Victoria and I, galettes are one of the things we get free reign on- whatever tastes good, and can go with an insane amount of cheese, can go in a galette. That day, I decided on Italian sausage, sautéed mushrooms with herbs, braised kale, and manchego and Feta cheese.
I work out of one large skillet, my mise lined up on a cutting board behind me. I’m cooking the parts of the filling in a certain order- something experience has taught me will work quickly and allow the different parts of the galette to allude to each other:
- The sausage goes in first. It’s already full-flavored, and it has fat the other things will need to cook.
- Cremini mushrooms next, with a small amount of garlic and fresh herbs. As the mushrooms cook, they release liquid- pulling all the crusty bits left by the sausage up from the pan. This and the liquified fat from the sausage work their way into the earthy mushrooms.
- Finally, the sautéed kale. I use the method Emily and I use at home- a little supplemental olive oil in the pan, garlic, dried pepper. In goes the kale with a loud sizzle, and finally the broth with a loud hiss and a gout of steam. I slam the lid on the pan and let it braise. The broth deglazes the pan as it steams the kale- uniting its bitter green with the unctuous sausage and sweet mushrooms.
Victoria is next to me at the range, watching all this with interest. She’s asking questions here and there as she eyes the cream she’s heating up for ganache. So much of baking is waiting for the time to be right.
“Hey Matt- have you ever worked on a line before?”
I’m keeping my eyes on the pan, making sure the kale gets coated in garlic and pepper. “Only briefly on a dessert line, never hot.”
“Huh… you’d be good at it, I think. You’re a good cook, and really organized.”
I chuckle a bit, “Nah… I could maybe be good once I was used to it, but that’d take a while. I’d frazzle and burn out a bit first- probably wreck some shit in a panic. Nah, I like being a baker. Less of a rush, more of a logistics puzzle.”
“Ahh, gotcha… well, I can see why you like teaching people. You have a real soothing voice.”
I smile and tip the kale out on to a half-sheet, where the sausage and mushrooms are warm and waiting. “Well, thank you.”
I scatter shredded manchego on the dough disc. Pile on the warm filling, and more manchego on top, with some cubed feta. The feta won’t melt- it’s too dry- but it will provide visual texture and some nice cheesy funk to each slice.
I’m smart enough to know what I’m good at, and what I need to work on.
I’m a good cook.
A good enough cook for me.
A good enough cook for me, for right now.
I can also tell a great story, teach people a thing or two- and make a MEAN galette.
Knowing there are things you need to work on and aren’t good at doesn’t mean you won’t be good at them, or you can’t be good at them. If you want to be good at something, you can… you just need the time, space, and acceptance to suck at them for a while first.
Limitations don’t necessarily define you… and vice versa.
I’m not allowed to give out the cafe’s gallete dough recipe, and the fillings are really up to you- but here are some tips for when you decide to make one at home.
1. Balance your ingredients and flavors. “Meat Lovers” sounds great on pizza, but it can be a bit much. Work in veggies!
2. Meat in a galette should be fully cooked, but remember that once the galette is ready, it goes in an oven. Remember that some things (not covered by crust or cheese) may overcook- especially eggs! Consider a soft scramble for egg galettes.
3. If you want your galette to look really great, egg wash the sides after you fold them up. That’ll make a great golden brown gloss- and you can dust the edges with spices or seeds too.