Ahhhhh…..Caprese Salad. How I do love you! Summertime eating at it’s best. Insalata Caprese, or Salad of Capri, which is a small island off Italy’s southern coast, is a simple salad made with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and basil, sprinkled with salt and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It is often served as an antipasto (starter) in Italy. I like it as a starter, I like it as a side dish and as the main dish, truth be told. Indeed, I like all of its various incarnations. I’ve eaten it as a sandwich on some nice crusty bread, I’ve gobbled it up as a pizza and I’ve even scarfed it down on top of a grilled chicken breast. Always delicious! So when I found myself with a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes and a batch of fresh basil pesto, straight from my little deck garden, I knew just what I wanted to do. I had already served up quite a lot of the traditional Caprese Salad this summer and wanted to put a different little spin on the dish. That is when I decided to go with a Rustic Caprese Galette.
I used my favourite pie dough for the galette crust. Luckily for me, I already had a batch of that dough ready to go. The recipe I give you below makes enough for two pie crusts, so I always freeze one so that I’ve got one ready at a moment’s notice. Instead of fresh basil leaves, I used my fresh basil pesto as the sauce. Now be careful, you don’t want to apply the pesto as thickly as you would a sauce. A little goes a long way. I covered that with fresh halved cherry tomatoes and then added a layer of fresh mozzarella cheese. The real stuff ok…don’t use that pre-shredded plastic that the supermarkets claim is mozzarella. Not wanting to leave out the classic Caprese Salad ingredients of salt and olive oil, I painted a flavoured Italian Olive Oil over the folded edges of the tart and sprinkled it with Maldon Smoky Sea Salt flakes. Right before serving I drizzled a little balsamic vinegar reduction over the top.
The results were delicious! Flaky, buttery crust, fresh fragrant veggies, creamy dreamy mozzarella and tangy balsamic bliss. Summertime perfection!
Rustic Caprese Galette
For the galette crust:
- 2 1/2 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
- 6 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
- 2 Tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
- 3-4 Tablespoons Basil Pesto (recipe below/ or store bought if you are in a rush)
- 18 -20 cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 12 -14 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
- Olive Oil to brush over folded edges of galette
- Maldon Smoked Sea Salt for sprinkling
This recipe will make enough dough for two pie crusts. The second one can be kept in the fridge for up to two days or frozen for 3 months. If you’re making dough, you may as well make a second one while you’re at it and then you’ll be ahead of the game when preparing your next delicious creation.
Mix 6 tablespoons of vodka and 2 tablespoons of water. Put in fridge or freezer (don’t forget it) to chill.
Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.
Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).
Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).
Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water/vodka over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water/vodka and continue to press until dough comes together.
Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Transfer one disc (save the other for some other delicious creation) of the pastry dough from the refrigerator to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to a 12 inch circle. Transfer the dough to the prepared, parchment lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the dough where the filling will be placed. This not only adds a lot of flavour, but will also keep the crust from getting soggy – so I’m told. Spread the basil pesto evenly over the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Remember you don’t need a whole lot with pesto, a little goes a long way. Cover the pesto with the halved cherry tomatoes and then place the mozzarella slices over the top. Gently fold over the pastry border, overlapping the edges as much as possible and gently pressing the folds together.
Brush the folded edges of the crust with an infused or flavoured olive oil. I used italian spice blend olive oil. Or simply use a beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle the smoked flaky sea salt over the crust. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust has become a lovely golden brown.
While your galette is in the oven, place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 3-5 minutes until the vinegar becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Remove galette from oven and drizzle with the balsamic reduction just prior to serving.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup of pine nuts, toasted
- 3/4 – 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup Parmesan Reggiano, freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Arrange pine nuts on baking tray. Toast in 375º F oven until golden brown. Keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly. Remove from tray and set aside to cool.
Place all ingredients except olive oil in food processor. Whizz all ingredients together while slowly drizzling in olive oil, stopping to scrape sides down occasionally, until thick and creamy consistency is reached.
Adjust spices to taste.
Store in airtight container in refrigerator. Will keep for 1 -2 weeks.
Rustic Caprese Galette brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )