Imagine you are on holiday in the French Pyrenees mountains. You’ve been walking in the forests, and reach a remote little village just in time for lunch. What to eat? Local cheeses on rustic mountain bread? Well, if you were me on holiday last year, it turned out that the only veggie show in town was a place selling, eh, buckwheat savoury crepes from Brittany. Not that they are not tasty, just not what you would expect half way up a mountain. But it could have been worse – a plate of cucumber was a strong possibility in the meat-loving South of France.
The particular out-of-place delicacy that is the subject of today’s post is the galette bretonne. I really love them, and they always score well in my book given the fact that they are not a warm goat cheese salad, and thus finding them in la belle France is always a pleasure. These are delicate, lacy, savoury crepes, but have some substance to them as they are made using a goodly amount of buckwheat flour, which adds a bit of a nutty flavour to the crepe. They typically also have a lot of filling to make them into a satisfying meal – often eggs or cheese, but my favourite is with chopped mushrooms cooked with cream and black pepper, and sprinkled with chives. The trick with presenting them is to put the filling the middle (while it is on the stove, if you like it to cook or melt), then flip each of the four sides over a little bit to form a square, with the filling just peeping out of the middle to entice you in.
Another helpful thing about these galettes is that they don’t have egg. I know, a crepe/pancake with no egg is a bit strange, but they do work just fine, and so they are actually the sort of thing that you can make from items in the store cupboard and basic fridge rations. I’m thinking of that moment when you get home from holiday, late at night, and you just want something tasty and filling. OK, you could call for takeaway, but where is the fun in that? Alright, at least you have something to cook for a guest who does not eat eggs…
If, like me, you go for the fungi option, you’ve got to get your mushrooms right too. White button mushrooms will work absolutely fine, if if you can get a more special variety, then do – the taste is soooo worth it. They just add a bit more mushroomy “oomph” to the finished dish, as well as having a more rounded and richer flavour.
Would these galettes (or crepes?) work with something sweet? No idea. I always use them with savoury fillings, and quite like it that way. Indeed, a though just came to me – portobello mushroom and taleggio cheese filling? Now that would be something worth climbing a mountain for.
For 10 galettes:
• 125g plain flour
• 125g buckwheat flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 250ml milk
• 250ml water (more if needed)
• 50g butter, melted
Put all the ingredients apart from the butter in a large bowl, and mix well for a minute using a balloon whisk. Finally, add the liquid butter, stirring all the time. Place the bowl to one side and allow the batter to sit for 40 minutes before cooking. Trust me, this makes a difference.
To cook the galettes, heat a non-stick frying pan. Test the first galette – the mixture should be thin enough to quickly coat the surface of the pan if you shake it and tilt it. If the mixture is too thick, add more water. They should not stick thanks to the butter in the batter, but if they do, put a little butter on a piece of kitchen paper, and wipe the pan with it just before adding the batter.
Serve with the filling of your choice, remembering to flip the corners over to form a square (or be lazy and fold in half like I did with the rest after I took the photo…shhhh!). Below is an idea with mushrooms.
For the mushroom filling:
• 500g mushrooms, roughly sliced
• 300ml double cream
• black pepper
• salt, stock cube or a spoonful of miso paste
• teaspoon plain flour
Put all the ingredients except the flour into a saucepan, and cook for 10 minutes on a medium heat. The mixture should be light brown in colour (from the mushrooms) but should appear quite thin. Mix the flour with a couple of spoons of water, then add to the mushroom mixture. This will make the mixture thicken into a cheat’s mushroom stew.
Use to fill the galettes, and sprinkle a little grated Gruyère cheese and chopped chives over each before serving.
Worth making? These are super-easy savoury pancakes, which have a little more substance to them than the plain flour versions. I make they quite often, and something use them filled, the topped with a little white sauce and cheese, then bake in the oven. Delicious every time!