a cancelled dinner party: sweet potato galettes

We have been trying to have a small get together with one of my friends and her husband for months now. It’s been hard to coordinate because her schedule is rather busy and she’s wrangling littles.

The plan, as most of our plans tend to be, was to have them over, ply them with drinks and childfree time, and have a nicely adult dinner.

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Vegetables! Textures! Being an adult!

She is vegetarian, so my usual dinner party stand-bys don’t really work. I don’t have much practice planning a vegetarian menu, but I knew that I wanted to stay away from the here-is-some-pasta-I-guess? vegetarian solution. I wanted to put together a meal that was still simple, but didn’t rely too much on bread/pasta/rice to act as filler.

Enter, my Ottolenghi cookbook. (And also the Serious Eats website, as per usual, for ease of referencing in the kitchen.) Between it and it’s predecessor Plenty, both by Yotam Ottolenghi, there are plenty (heh) of tasty and beautiful vegetarian recipes.

We settled on a date — it was supposed to be this past weekend — but at the last moment, childcare plans fell through and they had to reschedule.

At that point, I had already gathered ingredients for Ottolenghi’s sweet potato galettes, as seen on the cookbook cover. I could have abandoned the cooking plans altogether, but why waste the opportunity to try a new recipe and go meat-free for the weekend in the process?

It turned out, as has everything else I’ve made from these cookbooks, delicious.

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Sweet potato galettes.

I’m already thinking about possible future riffs:
– Purple potatoes, chili powder, cotija + parsley cilantro oil
– Beets, pistachios, goat cheese (plus figs if additional sweetness desired)
– Carrots, garam masala, spicy pecans
– Turnips and apples, parmesan, maybe some bacon + tarragon in the oil

But if you want to try to original, here’s the recipe.

Sweet Potato Galettes adapted from Ottolenghi via Serious Eats
Yields 4, active time 30 minutes, total time 1 1/2 hours
Adaptations in italics.

FYI: A galette + a bright and herby salad made for a great light lunch. For a more hearty meal, I would add another side.

Ingredients:
– 3 sweet potatoes, about 350g each — Ended up using two, and it was more than plenty.
– 250g of puff pastry (Shortcut with frozen pre-made puff pastry, usually two sheets a box. And one sheet is around 250g.)
– 1 egg, lightly beaten
– 100 mL (6-7 tablespoons) sour cream
– 100g (3-4 tablespoons) goat cheese
– 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
– 1 medium-hot chile, finely chopped (Substituted aleppo pepper here because I could and it’s delicious.)
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 clove garlic, crushed
– 2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
– Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the sweet potatoes for 35-45 minutes, until soft but still somewhat firm in the center. Once cooled, peel and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices. Set aside.

2. While waiting for the sweet potatoes, roll out puff pasty to about 1/16-inch thick on a floured work surface.

(Note: If you’re using frozen stuff, make sure to set the puff pastry out to thaw at room temperature until it is pliable. This takes around 40 minutes depending on what you’re room temperature is. Also, instead of a floured work surface, I did this on a piece of parchment that I later baked on.)

3. Cut out four 2 3/4 by 5 1/2-inch rectangles and prick all over with a fork. Line a baking sheet with parchment, place the pasty onto it, and rest in fridge for at least half an hour.

(Note: I did something like 3×5-inch rectangles because I didn’t want to bother with smaller increments. Out of my sheet of pastry, I managed six rectangles with some scraps leftover.)

4. Remove pastry from fridge and brush with the beaten egg. Using an icing spatula, spread a thin layer of sour cream on the pastry, leaving a 1/4-inch border at the edges.

(I’m not a hundred percent sure why the egg step is necessary. Yes, it helps with browning, but you just cover most of the egg up with sour cream and filling. So…

Also, spreading sour cream on an egg-washed surface is an exercise in frustration. I recommend a thin base layer and then building.)

5. Arrange potato slices, slightly overlapping, on the pastry, making sure you leave the border clear. Season with salt and pepper, then crumble the goat cheese on top. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and chile.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until pastry is cooked and the underneath is golden brown and not soggy. (It’ll take longer than this if you want a deep caramelization. I went for around 30 minutes.)

7. While the galettes are in the oven, stir oil, garlic, and parsley together with salt to taste. Once the galettes come out, brush them with the oil mixture while they are still warm.

(I’m never one to pass up a good herb oil. In mine, I increased all the proportions, added chives and more garlic. [Sidenote: easy way to crush garlic if you don’t have a crusher is to scrap the flat of your knife over minced garlic with a little coarse salt on your cutting board.] Then, once I brushed the galettes with the mixture, I added lemon juice and dijon mustard to make an easy salad dressing to go alongside.)

8. Nom.

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Om nom.