12 February 2013

Buckwheat 'Galettes' with Asparagus and Gruyere

Happy Pancake Day! If you think you have missed the boat on celebrating with a breakfast pancake, fear not... you have the whole day ahead of you. Years ago when I was still young enough for mum to cook most of our meals, she happened to be away and dad was left in charge of dinner. We all dutifully ate grown up food along the 'meat and three veg' lines every night, except one night when mum called just as we were sitting down to dinner and asked what we were having... pancakes with golden syrup. Sigh, we really should have just had pancakes every night.
In France beautiful savoury crepes made with buckwheat flour are called 'galettes', and are filled with cheese and/or ham and sometimes come with a cracked egg on top, the whites just set and the yolk all runny. Anyone who has ever had breakfast with me knows I cannot abide runny yolks. I would rather cook an egg until it doubles as a bouncy ball than chance softness of any sort, such is my loathing of oozing yolk. As such, I have not gone down the egg route, instead opting for a simple combination of asparagus, béchamel sauce with nutmeg and lots of gruyere topped with freshly cracked black pepper.

A galette is usually filled, then has its four edges folded in to make it into a square shape, with a little filling still peeking through in the middle. I have used an empty sauce bottle to squirt my galette batter into the pan in vaguely circular motions, because of all its lacy holes just folding the edges over did not keep my filing in so I had to roll it (and still had melted gruyere mixed with béchamel seeping out... not that I'm complaining!). You can use fresh steamed asparagus or canned asparagus (which I secretly love). This batter works well squirted out like this and held its shape, but it is a little heavy as a full pancake without the holes in it. Do let it rest after combining for at least 2 hours or it will be tough.
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 60 grams pecorino, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons very finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 to 2 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • toppings of choice: sliced ham, gruyere, eggs, béchamel sauce, sauteed mushrooms (I would definitely recommend cheese as one of the toppings)
  1. In a large bowl combine buckwheat flour, baking powder, grated pecorino, parsley and salt, stir well
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the milk, egg and melted butter, then add this to the dry mix and whisk until smooth
  3. Rest for at least 2 hours, to overnight in the fridge (bring back to room temperature before using
  4. Fill a clean, empty sauce bottle with the batter and heat a large non-stick frypan on a medium flame, squirt the batter in stripes or circles onto the hot pan 
  5. When small bubbles start to appear, turn it over carefully so as not to rip the pancake, allow to brown on this side also
  6. Remove from the pan and repeat
  7. Fill galette with filling of choice, fold over and return to the pan to cook briefly, flipping once to allow the cheese to melt
  8. Serve hot with a good crack of pepper!  

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