You know the summer is almost over when the cool air starts trickle in, when you catch yourself grabbing a warm sweater when going out the morning or for that evening walk around the lake or the neighborhood. The air during these times of the day is crisp and clean. It expands your lungs and fills them with cool freshness; it makes you feel alive and full of energy.
When these days arrive I catch myself desperately trying to hold on to the summer in every possible way. I either insist on wearing that striped summer dress, or to sleep with all of my 3 windows open. I want to continue to listen to the birds fighting on the nearby tree, or to eat those gigantic heirloom tomatoes just as they are, biting on them and sucking all the delicious sweet juices.
But everything in nature is driven by the cycle of life and this summer must come to an end too. But before it does, I wanted to grab the last tomatoes and onions and cucumbers and garden flowers and thyme and mint and dill...and to enjoy them while they are still full of life.
So, today’s recipe is about summer vegetables, in their truest way. Respectful to their nature and to the flavors they offer. I wanted to use only a handful of ingredients and let their beauty shine. I had picked some colorful heirloom tomatoes, sweet onions and sprigs of fragrant thyme from the farmers market. I had also had a box of puff pastry in the freezer and I thought a savory galette would be perfect. I sautéed the onions in some butter for 20 minutes until they caramelized and became golden brown. Their subtle flavor and sweetness was a perfect match for the juicy flavorful tomatoes and the flaky buttery crust.
I baked the galettes for 20 minutes and enjoyed them while still warm with a glass of chilled white wine – in fact, I enjoyed the galettes so much that I ate two.
And now...off into your kitchen. And don’t forget to let me know how they turned out!
Tomato and caramelized onions galettes
• 3 cups of thinly sliced onions (about 4-5 onions depending on their size)
• 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
• Flour for dusting
• 1 box of puff pastry dough, thawed and chilled*
• 1/4 cup creme fraiche (optional)
• 30 heirloom cherry tomatoes (about 1 lb.), sliced in 1/8 inch circles
• 1 egg white
• 12-15 sprigs of fresh thyme
* My grocery store only had pre-cut 5 x 5” puff pastry squares. Using and cutting a large sheet of pastry dough works well too.
Heat a non-stick or heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter. When melted, add the onions. Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and let the onions caramelize over low heat for about 15-20 minutes or until soft and golden brown.
Meanwhile, lightly dust your surface with flour, place the pastry dough and cut in 6 squares. Take one of the squares, lightly dust with flour on each side and roll to stretch 1/2 inch in each direction. Cut about 1/4 inch of each corner to round the shape and place the stretched piece on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat the process with the rest of the pastry squares (you might need 2 baking sheets depending on their size). Place the tray/trays with the puff pastry in the refrigerator for 15 minutes for the dough to harden and become easy to manage.
Preheat the oven to 365˚F.
Using a fork Pinch one of the stretched pastry squares several times using a fork. Take one tablespoon of the creme fraiche and spread in the center up to about 1 inch from the edges. Take a tablespoon of the caramelized onions and spread it on top of the creme fraiche. Arrange a layer of tomatoes on top of the onions by slightly overlapping the tomato slices with another one. Sprinkle some salt and pepper. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush the crust with egg white wash (1 egg white mixed with a splash of water). Repeat the process with the rest of the dough squares.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges become golden brown.
Cool for 15 minutes and sprinkle each galette with fresh thyme.
Note: When coming from the oven, the galettes might be puffed up. Pinch several times with a fork to deflate if there are any bubbles. The pastry will deflate on its own when it starts to cool off.