Friday, April 16, 2010

To Market, To Market...

I've been jonesing for fresh spring produce, but it is still a bit early here in the DC area. Relief will come soon, though. We are planning a trip down to Texas next week when I'll get to raid my parents' garden and eat things that we won't get here for a few more months. In the meantime, I thought perhaps I could somewhat satisfy my craving by visiting a farmer's market and seeing what they had on tap.

You can find a farmer's market in your area by visiting the US Department of Agriculture's website.

I decided to investigate a market that I had not yet seen on our side of town. (Yep, even out here on the east side...) Well, it is was rather slim pickings with one farm represented, but they were friendly and they brought some good stuff. It was mainly the tail end of winter vegetable harvest, but I know more is on the way.

Check out some of what I got...

I believe the variety of winter spinach I got is Bloomsdale; it is dark-green and crinkled, not like the pointed, smooth-leafed kind I usually see in bags at the supermarket. I felt it would not keep that long, so I wanted to use it right away.

I sought inspiration from Jacques Pepin, (Shout-out to fellow fan and friend, Andrea!) and decided to make a potato and spinach galette. The word galette denotes a flattish, disk-shaped pancake. It has garlic flavored spinach sandwiched between panfried potatoes. (It reminds me a bit of Potatoes Anna that my brother loves, so I will post that recipe another time in the future.)

I made this galette as a side dish with meatloaf (which I turned into sandwiches this morning with vidalia onion slices, see above), but it is hearty enough to be a main course with a green salad or could be included in a brunch. You want to use a nonstick skillet or omelet pan (make sure they are oven-safe) or a cast-iron skillet as I did.

Here's the how-to...

Potato and Spinach Galette
1 pound spinach
1 1/2 pounds potatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
garlic, to taste (my husband and I usually like more garlic than the average person so I won't trouble you with our measurements, but you want to start with at least 1 Tbsp)
salt and pepper

If you plan to bake the galette right away, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. I removed the stems from the spinach and threw away any leaves that were wilted. I also needed to thoroughly wash the spinach. The crinkles were pretty sandy.

I washed and peeled the potatoes, then sliced them thinly with my mandolin. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) I washed the slices, drained them, and patted them dry with paper towels.

In the 10-inch skillet, I heated 1 Tbsp of the oil with the butter until hot. I added the potatoes, and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Saute over medium high heat until all slices are coated with oil and butter and they are becoming transparent. I kept stirring to move the potatoes, but next time I might put the potato slices into the skillet in two batches. I transferred them to a plate and put them aside so I could use the skillet for the spinach.

Put another tablespoon of oil in the pan, add garlic and quickly add the spinach. The garlic will cook really fast and you don't want to burn it. I added a little more salt and pepper and sauted until the spinach was wilted. It was not more than 2 minutes. Take it out of the skillet and set aside.

I then turned off the heat, but I didn't take the skillet off the burner. Add the last tablespoon of oil, and arrange a layer of potato slices across the bottom of the pan. Make two layers of potatoes, using half of the slices. Spread the spinach across the potatoes, and then cover it with the remaining potatoes. You could can prepare the dish up to the point several hours ahead. Just cover the skillet and keep in refrigerator. I wouldn't recommend making it more than 6 or 8 hours ahead of time, though.

Put the skillet in the 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. With the dark, cast-iron skillet, this wasn't necessary, but you may want to put the skillet back on the stove top after baking. If you put it on a burner over medium high for 2 or 3 minutes you can ensure the bottom layer is browned.

Once done, invert the galette onto a large plate and cut into wedges. This picture doesn't really do the dish justice. I promise to work on my picture-taking if you take my word that it looked as good as it tasted, and we enjoyed it.

The recipe is from the cookbook Jacques Pepin's Table.

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