I’ve reviewed many potato galette recipes. Everyone has a slightly different take on this rustic classic, and mine is no different. Unlike other French dishes that retain the disciplined Escoffier techniques, there isn’t any hard and fast rule to making galettes. It depends on your preference. Some suggest layering the slices with cheese and leeks then baking it as a tart, while others stay to the conventional stovetop method. And although baking is easier and less challenging then the traditional method, it losses something in the translation when it crosses the threshold and flirts with scalloped potatoes or au gratiné. Don’t get me wrong, as a cheese monger, I love both with their ooie gooie cheesiness, but I am more enamored with the technique of crisping the galettes into light delicate florets then layering them with different toppings like a savory napoleon.
The secret to making crispy galettes is to treat the potatoes the same as if you were making potato chips; by keeping the slices razor thin, soaking them in an ice water bath, and patting them dry to remove excess moisture prior to cooking them. With this type of technique, they cook up light and crispy around the edges while retaining a soft, creamy center. The other trick is to use very few slices per galette—just enough to arrange a floral pattern of approx. 8-10 petals. And because potatoes, like mushrooms, have a naturally high water content, very little oil is required. Where most people have difficulty, is in knowing when to flip the galettes. Too often, instead of leaving them undisturbed to brown, we go at them with a spatula before they have a chance to properly crisp, and we end up with mushy, disjointed petals. The key is to let them rest on a medium heat. They’ll signal when ready with the curl of their edges. Slide them around in the pan a few times. If they’re still a bit floppy, let them continue cooking for a minute or two, and then flip.
I know I am taking liberties in calling the sauce a crème fraîche since technically crème fraîche is a cultured, fermented, high butter fat cream that, in a pinch can— and has been—substituted with sour cream or yogurt. But no one ever said you couldn’t create a legitimate vegan hybrid using coconut cream, a splash of coconut vinegar as a fermenting agent, and then aerating it to give it the same light flavor and velvety mouth feel as dairy crème fraiche.
Recipe notes: What you will need: Mandolin vegetable slicer 2- skillets, medium size bowl, and hand mixer. Active prep time: 30-minutes. Total cooking time: 1-hour. Yields 1-dozen galettes and 1 1/2 cups sauce. Difficulty level: Easy
- 2-large Yukon potatoes, peeled
- 1-Tbsp spray cooking oil
- 1-tsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1-tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2-tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 4-scllions/green onions thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups “Kara” coconut cream in the carton
- 1-tsp coconut or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1-Tbsp fresh dilled, chopped
- Add vinegar to cream and refrigerate for 30-minutes to ferment
- Peel, seed, and dice cucumber, and chopped dill. Set aside.
- Prepare potatoes for galettes
- Fill bowl halfway with water, add ice for ice water bath.
- Using mandolin, thinly slice peeled potatoes into ice water, and allow to soak for 15-minutes.
- Prep herbs and green onions.
- Lay kitchen towel on counter and remove 2-dozen potato slices from ice water and place on towel. Lay another towel on top and pat dry, leaving remaining slices in ice water to prevent browning.
- Lightly spray two small skillets with vegetable oil and arrange a dozen potato slices concentrically in each and season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer skillets to stovetop, turn burners on med-heat, and cover with lid and cook for 5-minutes
- Remove lid and allow to cook on med-heat for 10-minutes.
- Slightly loosen galette from skillet with spatula and swirl galette in pan.
- When edges are crisped and curled, flip galette, season other side and cook for an additional 5-minutes.
- Transfer galettes to a paper towel, season with fresh herbs. Once cooled, lay sheet of wax paper over the top followed by paper towel. Note: To keep galettes crisp, wax paper prevents moisture from seeping between layers.
- Repeat process for remaining slices always giving a little spritz of oil to the pan for each batch.
- In mixing bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted.
- Fold cucumber and dill into cream, season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish galettes with sliced scallions and stack. Serve with dill crème fraiche. Should be served with in a few hours of cooking to retain crispness.