The holidays, with the accompanying year-end feasts, are nearly upon us. Whether you are in a flurry of gift buying, or going low-consumption and keeping it small, you deserve a grand feast or two. Bringing your favorite people to the table is the best way to close out 2017, no matter which holidays you celebrate.
Sharing food with family and friends is joyful, fun and a great way to show people how much you appreciate them. If you or anyone you break bread with is vegetarian or vegan, they will appreciate this Spinach, White Bean and Pine Nut Galette. Everybody else will love it as a side.
If you have some less-than-adventurous diners, this lovely tart should put them at ease. It looks enough like a pizza to be familiar, but has much more class. It’s really like eating pie for dinner, and the flaky, crisp pastry crust is irresistible. The rustic shaping of the galette gives the whole affair a casual but special feeling that fits the holidays. It even has a green and red color scheme going.
The galette is fine at room temperature, so you don’t have to jockey for oven space at the last minute. Bake it up to a day ahead, and warm it in a low oven if you can, but otherwise, simply let it come to room temperature by the stove.
To start this pie, you’ll blanch a pound of fresh spinach. It’s important that you wring out all the excess water, so I recommend that you wrap the spinach in a kitchen towel after you squeeze it out, and let the towel finish the work. You can do this part a day or two ahead, to save time on the big day.
Making the pastry can also be done a day ahead; just grate the butter (or cut in the shortening, for a vegan galette) and then stir in only enough ice water for a dough. Always be conservative when adding the water, too little and the dough is crumbly, too much and it becomes stretchy and will shrink when it bakes. Form a disk of dough and wrap it tightly, and keep in the refrigerator for up to two days.
Make some holiday memories, and feed your family with love, with a savory galette.
Spinach, White Bean and Pine Nut Galette
Serves 8 (with a 13-inch tart).
Note: This tart is free-form, so if you don’t have a platter large enough to hold a 13-inch round, you can make it smaller, or you can serve the slices on a rectangular platter. Vegans can use shortening in the crust, and mash a Yukon Gold potato to replace the egg in the filling, and use the nondairy cheese of choice. For a vegan egg wash, whisk a tablespoon of agave with a tablespoon of plain soy milk. From Robin Asbell.
• 1 lb. spinach leaves
• 3/4 c. unbleached flour
• 3/4 c. whole-wheat pastry flour
• 1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
• 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, or shortening
• 1/2 c. plus about 3 tbsp. ice water
• 2 large green onions, chopped
• 1 tsp. dried thyme
• 1/2 tsp. black pepper
• 3 eggs, divided (see Note)
• 4 oz. aged Gouda or Gruyère, divided
• 1 (15-oz.) can navy beans, rinsed and drained, dry
• 3 tbsp. pine nuts
• 1 small roasted red pepper, slivered
Line a large rimless sheet pan with parchment paper (an AirBake works well). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a pot of water to boil for the spinach. When it boils, add the spinach, stirring as it gets full. Bring back to a boil, just a minute or two, and when the spinach is bright green, drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water, then wring out spinach by the handful. Place the spinach on a kitchen towel, then roll up and twist to wring out as much water as possible. Reserve.
In a large bowl, combine the unbleached and pastry flour with 1 teaspoon salt, and whisk to combine. Using a grater, shred the cold butter into the flour mixture, tossing to coat. If using shortening, cut in with a pastry blender. Drizzle in 1/2 cup ice water, tossing the flour mixture with a fork. As the dough forms, press it together gently with your hands, adding 3 tablespoons ice water, a tablespoon at a time, to moisten any dry flour and mix it into the dough. When the dough holds together, press into a disk, then chill for an hour.
In a large bowl, place the prepared spinach, green onions, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 2 eggs (or mashed potato) and mix well. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, then fold in the beans. Reserve.
Whisk the remaining egg in a cup with 1 tablespoon water to brush on the pastry.
On a floured counter, roll out the dough to a 15-inch round. Carefully fold it in half and transfer to the prepared baking sheet; it may hang over the edges. Spread the filling on the dough, leaving an inch of pastry bare around the edge. Fold 2-inch-wide lengths of the dough over the filling to form a rim. Brush the pastry with the egg and, if there is some left over, spread it over the filling. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and all the pine nuts, and arrange pepper strips on top.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and crisp, and the filling feels firm when pressed in the center. Cool on a rack, then serve.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories 350 Fat 20 g Sodium 790 mg
Carbohydrates 31 g Saturated fat 11 g Total sugars 2 g
Protein 14 g Cholesterol 120 mg Dietary fiber 7 g
Exchanges per serving: 2 starch, 1 medium-fat protein, 3 fat.
Robin Asbell is a cooking instructor and author of “Big Vegan,” “The Whole Grain Promise” and “Great Bowls of Food.” Find her at robinasbell.com.