Sometimes when we think of “make ahead” dishes, we automatically think of rubbery day old chicken or perhaps a simple baked ziti that can be popped in the oven. There’s nothing wrong with making casseroles ahead of time….trust me I do it on the regular…..but what I want to show you is that sometimes we can make “fancy” or “out of the box” dishes ahead of time with minimal prep too.
This week was a particularly tough one for me, as two of my three children were sick with completely different ailments (strep and a stomach bug) while the littlest one was fine- still running 1000 mph as I dashed from one room to the next. Laundry took up a lot of my time too lol. Regardless, us adults needed to eat. Although I had been living on rice cakes and tuna packets earlier in the day, I decided to make a savory galette. I began during the afternoon while (miraculously) the children were all asleep (for about 30 min lol). I took this time to make the dough (recipe below…..but SPOILER ALERT: it’s made completely in the food processor!!!). Once I had that done and it was chilling in the fridge, I prepped the base sauce ( EASY again with only THREE ingredients). Covered the sauce with plastic wrap and popped that in the fridge too. Next was the caramelized onions. This part obviously took the longest, but was still faster than expected (thank you strong stove top & my god given talent of holding toddlers in one arm while stirring food with the other). Finally, I knew I wanted to add a meat, as my hubby usually requires this in order to consider food a meal lol. Upon opening my fridge I came across some hickory smoked bacon, and quickly threw it on a sheet pan and popped it in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. At this point all the kids were awake, and my prep time was done.
About 4 hours later, I simply pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees, pulled out the dough and let it sit on the counter until pliable, piled on the toppings, folded, & cooked. Seriously so easy, and although I was apprehensive about exclusively using the food processor to make the dough, it came out extremely soft and flaky aka PERFECTION. Here’s the recipe I used:
Caramelized Onion & Bacon Galette with Savory Parmesan Cream
For the Dough: Combine 2 cups all-purpose flower, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt (use fine sea salt if possible) in a food processor, simply pulsing a few times until combined. Next, chop up one full stick of cold unsalted butter (aka 8 tablespoons) into tiny cubes. Add them into the mixture, then pulse until combined and you see pea sized crumbs formed. Continuing to pulse, slowly add 1/4 cup of ice-cold water until the dough is just coming together. (you’ll know it’s ready when you can pinch together pieces and they stay together. If you need more water, be sure to add very slowly, with longer pulses and scraping down the sides of the food processor if necessary.) Once the dough is complete, turn it out onto a large piece of parchment paper, knead together until a ball is formed, then flatten into a small disk. Place another piece of parchment paper on top, and roll out until you have approx a 12 inch circle. (Don’t worry if the circle isn’t perfect, mine always ends up lop-sided lol). Take the dough and still using the two pieces of parchment paper, place on a large cookie sheet & refrigerate at least 2 hours or until ready to use. * Note: if you are going to use the dough another day, make sure you cover it tightly. This dough can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months *
For the Parmesan Cream: In a small bowl combine 1 cup mascarpone cheese and 3 tablespoons milk (if possible don’t use a milk alternative like coconut or almond milk, because it may negatively affect the taste of the sauce. You can use water, but go slowly and add one tablespoon at a time). Mix with a small flexible spatula or spoon until milk is fully incorporated. Next, add 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh basil (or thyme or parsley whichever herb is your favorite) and stir well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Caramelized Onions: Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut 4 small-medium sized white onions as thin as you can. Then, using a pan or dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons butter until foamy. Once foaming subsides, add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir to avoid burning, add 3 minced garlic cloves, and continue cooking for about 30 seconds. Next, add 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon of all-purpose flour. Continue to cook the onions on low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly, until dark brown in color. Be patient, sometimes the process may take more like 45 minutes, depending on your onions & stove. The point is to get them a deep brown, very soft in texture, and stir consistently as to avoid burning. Once they are ready, set aside and let cook in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
How to cook the Bacon: Take 1/2 lb bacon of your choosing and bake on a foil lined sheet pan for 12-16 minutes at 375 degrees. When fully cooked, drain on paper towel lined plate. Let cool, chop, and then refrigerate until using.
Assembling & Cooking the Galette: Take out all the components and allow them to come to room temperature. It’s important that the dough be pliable or else it will crack. Once ready, begin by spreading a layer of the cheese “sauce” in the center of the dough. Create about a 10 inch circle, leaving room around the edges. Next, place the caramelized onions over the sauce. Finally, add the bacon pieces in an even layer. Finish assembly by taking each side and folding it in- don’t worry about this being fancy- the whole point is to make a “rustic” tart. (Mine looked like a deformed diamond, but sometimes taste is more important than presentation lol) Lastly, bake the tart at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until dough is cooked through.
Hope you enjoyed this recipe. Sorry I didn’t have a full picture of the final product- my husband tore into it before I could snap one. But the bottom right hand photo is of two pieces that were left for me to eat lol. They were delish if I do say so myself 😉
Remember though, that this recipe just a guide. You can make a galette sweet, savory, or tailor it to any specific dietary needs. Here’s a couple of other unique options I like:
- nectarine, smoked mozzarella, arugula, & balsamic
- salted caramel & apple
- asparagus & goat cheese
- hot Italian sausage, zucchini, & ricotta
- butternut squash, purple onion, sage, & brown butter
- mixed berry with lemon glaze
- THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS 🙂
Let me close out this post by saying that although the infamous French cook Julia Child stated, “Cooking Well Doesn’t Mean Cooking Fancy” ; I think sometimes it does! And in my mind, fancy doesn’t have to equal difficult. So go out there and make something easy & beautiful!