Finally, finally the heavy humidity has cleared. There was a downpour last night—yet again—but this time the rain took away the humidity. Today is bright, sunny, dry, a little cool even, which is the way August is supposed to be. Especially the end of August.
No more of my complaining to Clif: “If I had wanted tropical weather, then I would have moved to the tropics.”
I can only hope that the hot, humid weather is behind us as we move to September, which in the past few years has become one of the nicest months in Maine. (August once held that honor, but those days seem to be gone.)
Despite the heat and humidity, or maybe because of it, the tomatoes are flourishing and so is the basil. In truth, I have never grown such lush, healthy basil, and I am thrilled to have it. Basil is my favorite herb.
The zucchini, of course, seems to be growing like a house afire, and I have noticed that in my CSA bin, the zucchinis are considerably bigger than they were a few weeks ago. They are not too big to resent. Not yet. But I expect that day is coming.
Fresh garlic has made its appearance in the CSA bin, and I never, ever resent garlic. It keeps beautifully, and it enhances so many dishes.
Tomatoes. Garlic, Zucchini. Basil. What to do, what to do?
How about adding some fresh mozzarella and making a tomato and zucchini galette? That’s just what I did, and along with a Swiss chard and shredded carrot salad, it made a mighty fine late summer meal.
A note about the tomatoes for the galette: Tomatoes, of course, are watery, and this is not necessarily a good fit with pie dough. I used a variety called Juliet, which grows in my own little garden. It is a small roma-like tomato and does well with only six hours of sun. It is not as watery as other tomatoes, and I would recommend using either roma or cherry tomatoes for a galette. One suggestion I have read is to slice the tomatoes, put them on paper towels, salt them, and let them drain for about twenty minutes. I didn’t do this for the galette I made last night, but I will probably do it next time.
A note about the zucchini: I didn’t sauté it before using it in the galette. I just chopped the zucchini into small pieces, mixed it with olive oil, garlic, basil, cheese, and tomatoes, and it was just fine.
Anything else to mention? Ah, yes. The pie crust. I enjoy making pie crust, and I am not too bad at it, if I do say so myself. But for those who hate to make pie crust or just don’t have the time, by all means go out and by the pre-made crusts. There are some pretty good ones out there, and there is no need to deprive yourself of galette if all that is holding you back is making pie dough.
Tomato and Zucchini Galette
Makes one galette, which will feed three or four people, depending on appetite and on what else is being served.
For the pie dough
- 1 cup of flour
- 6 tablespoons of shortening
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 cup of cold water (I let the water run for a while before using it.)
For the filling
- 1 cup of sliced tomatoes
- 1 cup of zucchini, cut in large chunks
- 1 cup of sliced, fresh mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons of chopped basil
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°
For the pie dough
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Mix well. Add the six tablespoons of shortening. With a fork or pastry blender, cut the shortening into the flour until it is in pea-sized pieces (Someday I will do a pie dough tutorial. I promise.)
- Add the water all at once, and with a large spoon mix until the dough forms a ball. Do not overmix. Too much handling makes tough pie dough.
- On a floured cloth or surface, roll out the pie dough into a large circle.
- By either folding it in half or in quarters, transfer the dough to a baking sheet. Unfold so that is a full circle.
For the filling
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the tomatoes, zucchini, mozzarella, olive oil, garlic, basil, and salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Place the filling in the center of the pie dough on the baking sheet. Make sure there is about a two-inch border.
- In small sections, fold and crimp the dough over the filling. It is fine for the edges to look rough. This is a galette, a rustic dish.
- Bake for 25 or 30 minutes until the galette is golden brown.
- Let cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing.