Ham and cheese galettes
Galettes are pancakes – only better. The hardcore version has them fried only on one side, toppings put on top (as you would with toppings), and the sides only nonchalantly folded over. For the fussy Anglo-Saxon palates flipping is sometimes permitted though, thus losing the nonchalance of the folding as the galette will be firmer cooked on both sides. And it's damn tough to flip without tearing.
Made with buckwheat flour, they are more savoury than all-wheat crepes and so suited to savoury filling. You name it, it goes: cheese and ham, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, saucisse or ratatouille – with an egg cracked on top, or not. I could live on galettes when in Brittany, if it wasn’t for their excellent oysters and mussels.
Bang on trend, as they are gluten-free, but some people will sniff at ‘not proper pancakes’. I know: you raise them, educate them, feed them with good stuff and they still turn out food ignorants…
- 220g buckwheat flour
- a pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 600-700ml cold water
- 40g melted butter plus more for frying
- For the topping:
- sliced ham
- sliced cheese (Monterey Jack or similar) or grated Gruyere or Cheddar
- a handful of spinach leaves, washed and torn
Mix all the galettes’ ingredients together starting with eggs and flour, adding a little water at a time to obtain a smooth batter. Whisk in the salt and melted butter at the end. Let the mix stand for a couple of hours.
Heat up a large pan or a flat griddle until very hot. Melt a small knob of butter and wipe most of it off with a paper towel. You probably won’t need to butter the pan more often than for every other galette.
Pour in or ladle about half a cupful of the batter, depending on the size of the pan and tilt the pan sideways so that it spreads evenly. You might find that the mix needs thinning with more water if it rolls around the pan instead of spreading evenly, as you tilt it – the thinner the galette the better. Leave it to cook for a couple of minutes until the top of the crepe turns opaque. Now add the toppings: first the cheese, then ham, just a slice, and top with a few spinach leaves. Fold the four sides towards the middle, leaving some topping exposed, then slide the galette onto a plate.
If you don't like the idea of frying just one side - although I promise the thin layer of batter WILL be cooked through - after a minute insert a metal spatula or a palette knife carefully underneath the galette to see if it is dry underneath. If it is, slide the spatula under the middle of the galette and flip decisively. Proceed with topping and folding.
You can also fry a batch, top and fold them, drizzle with melted butter and flash in hot oven or under the grill, for extra-crispy though not awfully orthodox.