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Wrap up summer flavors with this savory tomato pastry

Food columnist Sarah Nasello says this recipe for this Savory Tomato Cheddar Galette is her gift to you — layers of pure summer deliciousness (tomatoes, garlic and cheese) encased in a scrumptious, rich and buttery pie crust laced with fresh herbs and flavor.

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Sarah's Savory Tomato Cheddar Galette wraps up summer flavors in a perfect envelope of flaky, buttery-rich goodness.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum
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FARGO — There are times I am so giddy to share a recipe that my column practically writes itself, and this Savory Tomato Cheddar Galette is my gift to you — layers of pure summer deliciousness (tomatoes, garlic and cheese) encased in a scrumptious, rich and buttery pie crust laced with fresh herbs and flavor. You’re welcome.

Galettes are a free-form, rustic kind of pie, and if you start with a good base, like my Best All-Butter Pie Crust , and use the freshest ingredients, success is almost guaranteed. In the past, I have featured recipes for sweet galettes ( Mixed Berry Galettes and Cherry-Basil Galettes ), but I switched to a savory version this week to showcase the wonderful versatility of this easy, no-fuss pastry.

Despite its elegant appearance, this is a simple recipe made with just a few ingredients: tomatoes, very thinly cut garlic (it melts into the tomatoes), cheddar cheese, fresh basil, salt, pepper and pie crust. I added a variety of fresh herbs to my pie dough when I made it last week (basil, thyme and parsley), but plain pie dough will also work well.

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Herb-infused pie crust dough is the host to a variety of tomatoes, garlic, cheddar cheese and basil in this savory galette.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum
More recipes from Sarah Nasello
In this week's Home with the Lost Italian, columnist Sarah Nasello answers a reader's questions about how to source and utilize fresh and dried herbs in cooking.

If you have already made the dough or are using a store-bought brand and want to add fresh or dried herbs, you can press them into the dough as you roll it out. This is a great way to build flavor in a variety of savory pies, including quiches and hand pies.

Tomatoes are at their peak right now, and I recommend using a variety of colors and sizes to bring depth of flavor and presentation to the dish. Regardless of each tomato’s size, it is important that they are sliced to the same thickness — a quarter inch for this recipe — so that they roast evenly in the oven. For cherry tomatoes, you can cut them in half or even leave them whole, depending on their size.

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Tomatoes are full of water and controlling that moisture is the key to making sure that your pie crust does not end up with the dreaded soggy bottom. I have three tips to help ensure a good result and they work for me, every time.

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Sliced tomatoes are sprinkled with kosher salt to extract the excess moisture and patted dry on paper towels so that the they will caramelize in the oven and create a shield to keep the pastry crisp.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

First, place the sliced tomatoes in a large bowl, sprinkle them with kosher salt, let them sit for 20 minutes to extract the excess moisture, then place them on paper towels and pat them dry. This step is critical to achieving a crispy crust and will create better caramelization on the tomatoes.

Next, I sprinkle the pie dough with a layer of cheese to create a shield between the tomatoes and the pastry. Aged cheeses like cheddar, Gruyere and Parmigiano work best as they melt well and have less moisture than other varieties.

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A round of pie crust dough is covered with a layer of aged cheddar cheese, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border bare, then topped with a heaping layer of salted and dried tomato slices. The edges are folded up and pleated to seal the filling in and keep the juices from spilling out.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum
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A pastry brush is used to brush an egg wash over the dough to create a rich, golden brown crust.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Finally, once the galette is baked, I place the sheet pan on a cooling rack and let it cool for 10 minutes so that the juices can settle. Then, I transfer the galette directly onto the wire rack to let it cool for another 15 to 20 minutes, which helps to ensure a crispy crust. When you cut into the galette after letting it cool until warm, you should be able to hear a satisfactory crunch.

The result is a beautiful, delicious and easy-to-make pastry that can be served as an appetizer or a terrific vegetarian entree. So, grab some tomatoes, make some dough and let’s get baking. Enjoy!

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This Savory Tomato Cheddar Galette is one of Sarah's favorite summertime recipes and features a crisp and sturdy crust topped with summer flavors.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Savory Tomato Cheddar Galette

PRINT: Click here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe

Serves: 6

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Ingredients:
1 disk of Sarah’s all-butter herbed pie crust (see recipe from last week) or 1 pre-made pie crust
1 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon fresh basil, torn or roughly chopped, to garnish

Directions:
Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside. Place the sliced tomatoes and garlic in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Gently toss and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes to extract the excess moisture from the tomatoes. Transfer the tomatoes and garlic slices to the prepared baking sheet and gently pat the tops with a paper towel until mostly dry.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface or parchment paper until it is approximately 13 to 14 inches in diameter. Always roll from the center, up and down, turning the pie crust often and adding flour as needed so it doesn’t stick to the surface.

When ready, roll the crust around the rolling pin and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Don’t worry if it is slightly larger than the sheet as the edges will all be folded in to form the galette. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 10 minutes so the dough firms up, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and scatter the cheddar cheese over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2 -inch border bare. Arrange the tomatoes and garlic over the cheese, slightly overlapping. Bring the edges of the dough up and over the filling, making pleats along the way to seal the filling. Sprinkle the top with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and the black pepper. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Just before baking, beat the egg and water together in a small bowl until foamy. Brush the crust with the egg wash until the entire surface is coated. Bake in the oven until the filling is bubbly, the tomatoes are starting to caramelize and the crust is a rich, golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove the galette from the oven and place the baking sheet on a wire cooling rack. After 10 minutes, use a large spatula to lift the galette from the parchment paper and place it on the wire rack to continue cooling for 15 to 20 minutes (this helps keep the crust from becoming soggy). Sprinkle the top with the fresh basil, slice and serve.

Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

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Recipe Time Capsule:

This week in...

Recipes can be found with the article at InForum.com.

“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.
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