I’ve seen the movie Titanic more times than I would like to admit. I saw it in the theater when it came out. We owned a copy on laser disc that I used to enjoy occasionally. And it’s been on TV a fair number of times. Let’s just say that I know the film pretty well. Well enough that the best way that I can explain my life is through a scene from the movie. Not that “I’m king of the world” business, either.
I’m talking about the propellers. Do you remember that scene, just before the fatal crash? The boat is going full steam ahead. Plowing forward. Fast as it can. Nothing can stop it. Unsinkable. And then those two guys standing lookout see the iceberg, dead ahead. They alert the crew. And the crew uses all the boat’s power to stop the propellers. Cut to them grinding to a halt under water. You hear all this gushing and you can feel the rush as they try to hold the boat in place. Then they begin to turn in the other direction. Whoooosh! The propellers slowly pick up speed. Chug. Chug. Chugchugchug. It’s too bad we all know what happened next.
Well, my brain is the propellers. I have been charging forward across an ocean of dessert recipes. My maiden voyage. Cranking them out. Testing them. Eating them. Dreaming about them. “The pies are falling!!!” That’s what I screamed in my sleep a few weeks ago, while I was keeping the night watch. I was obsessed. Full steam ahead.
Now stop the propellers! We have to change course for the next project. Heading set for savory foods! Whoosh. Chug. Chug. Chugchugchug.
So here we go. I think we’re going to get her turned around in time. The change of direction might even be smooth. For example, I know that this heirloom tomato galette is still pie. I just took out the fruit and sugar and filled the crust with these outstandingly delicious tomatoes I bought at the farmer’s market.
I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know already but….tomatoes! I’ve been so buried in sweets that I forgot to enjoy them this summer and now I can’t get enough. These guys were so juicy and wonderful that I didn’t want to do too much to them. Just a little salt and olive oil. Some good ricotta from one of the famous old Italian groceries in my neighborhood. Wrapped up in buttery crust. Yum. It’s a tasty way to start a new adventure, near, far, wherever you are.
Heirloom Tomato Galette
A layer of grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano would be fantastic between the tomatoes and the crust if you have some on hand. Or maybe a sprinkle of crushed red pepper.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, cut into thick slices
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons basil leaves, torn, plus 1 tablespoon chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
1. Make the pastry. Combine flour, butter, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add 6 tablespoons of water to the mixture and stir with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. Add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of water if you need to, but stop before the dough gets too wet. It should just hold together when squeezed. Gather the dough into a rough ball in the bowl with your hands. Put a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and transfer the dough onto it. Wrap the dough with the plastic and flatten it into a 6-inch disc. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, lay a few layers of paper towels on a cutting board. Lay the tomato slices on top of the paper and sprinkle with some salt. Flip the slices over and sprinkle again. Let stand about 30 minutes. This is to release some of the extra water in the tomatoes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F.
3. On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll the dough out to a 13-inch circle. Transfer the parchment with the dough to a rimmed baking sheet. If the dough has gotten too soft at this point, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes. Top with the prepared tomatoes, the torn basil leaves, and drizzle with the oil. Fold a 3 to 4-inch border of the pastry up and around the tomatoes, pleating the dough as needed to seal. Brush the pastry with the cream.
4. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, and remaining tablespoon basil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the tomatoes are charred in spots, about 30 minutes. Let stand a few minutes, then top with the ricotta mixture. Serve warm.