Guilty as charged…

September 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had one of those weeks.  You know, the kind where nothing gets done.  Laundry piles up, dust thickens, the fridge looks barren.  I changed out of my pajamas only to put on a swimsuit.  Rakesh had the week off because of Eid break, and my whole schedule got mixed up.  Have you ever tried to clean your house around your husband?  It’s nearly impossible.

Luckily, we escaped to Al Ain for a few days to be with my in-laws.  We ate unlimited aloo dosas and shawarmas, went to see a Bollywood movie (with English subtitles), and did some yoga so as not to feel entirely lazy.

Then there was the pool party at Nasimi Beach Atlantis.  Rakesh and I met up with some friends for drinks and swimming, but late in the evening, after a few Bullfrogs (a nasty blue concoction sold by the gallon), the smoke filled dance floor and reverberating house music had us chained for hours.  We were only released after submitting to another call:  McDonald’s!

After a busy week, naturally I missed just being at home.  I missed my kitchen. Not that I’m blaming anyone, I’m just saying.

So as if to say, “Let’s go all out.  It’s vacation after all.  I’ll worry about balance next week,” I wanted to make something bad.  Something naughty.  Something guilty.  And, quite honestly, something that would allow me to hide in the kitchen with “busy work”.  Zucchini and Ricotta Galette.  Come on.  A buttery, flaky, golden crust filled with cheese and garlic and beautiful bright green zucchini.  Mmmmmmm.  And as if to make it not-so-guilty guilt, a tomato salad to go along side.  All is well in the world.  Balance.

Zucchini and Ricotta Galette

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

I found the recipe used more cheese than I liked, so I halved some of the filling.  I like that zucchini flavor!

For the pastry:

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, chilled for 30 minutes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced and chilled
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:

  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon slivered basil leaves

For the glaze:

  • 1 egg with 1 teaspoon water

To make the dough, sift together the flour and the salt, then sprinkle in the butter.  Use a pastry blender to combine the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces are pea-sized.  Separately, whisk together buttermilk, lemon juice, and ice water, then add to flour mixture.  Mix with your hands until flour is absorbed, and you have a soft dough ball.  It will be slightly sticky, but be careful not to over mix.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

To make the filling, spread zucchini over paper towels and sprinkle with salt to extract excess water.  If you don’t do it now, your galette will be watery.  Let sit for half and hour, then blot the tops of the zucchini dry with paper towels before using.  In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and olive oil.  Separately, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon of the garlic-olive oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).  On a floured work surface, roll the dough out to a 12 inch circle.  Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet (there’s enough butter in the dough, trust me) or pie plate.  Spread the cheese mixture evenly on the bottom, leaving a two-inch border.  Arrange the zucchini on top, starting from the outside and circling inward.  Drizzle the remaining garlic oil on top and fold the border of the pastry over the zucchini.  The center will be open.  Brush the crust with the egg wash.  Now isn’t that pretty?

Bake the galette about 30-40 minutes until the crust is golden and the zucchini is wilted.  The cheese will be puffed up, but deflates when cooled so don’t be disappointed.  Let stand for five minutes then transfer to a serving dish.  Serve warm or at room temperature. Nom nom nom.

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