I hear that cauliflower is in. I am thrilled to hear this as I have grown to love this creamy white vegetable over the years. I used to consider it rather nutritionally blank, I think due to its colour, but I have since learnt that this is very far from the truth (for a more detailed explanation of its nutritional fabulousness, please see here). Cauliflower is extraordinarily versatile. I remain frequently amazed to discover new, creative manipulations of this vegetable. To see some of these manipulations, and to marvel at my dedication to all things cauliflower, check out my Pinterest board, dedicated solely to this subject.
I often use a very interesting website, Food Pairing, to help with matching flavours for a dish. This remarkable website paints beautiful graphic patterns of the connections between the chemical aroma compounds (flavours) in a huge variety of ingredients. This enables you to experiment, with some confidence, with foods that are not typically paired together, whether because of culture, history or availability, but nevertheless have such flavour profiles in common. There are a staggering number of unusual, but complementary, combinations to be found out there and this website makes the task of researching this a delight.
So this recipe is a result of such research – all the components of this dish have flavour compounds in common with each other. Earthy buckwheat, toasted caraway, seared mushrooms, roasted cauliflower, nutty browned butter, sweet hazelnuts, tangy lemon and oozy camembert. Do let me know what you think.
I used a lovely Cornish camembert for the recipe today. I used to turn my nose up at British cheese, firmly convinced that it had nothing to offer me that wouldn’t be seriously inferior to French or Italian offerings, but this is all changing. There are many artisan cheesemakers working in Britain today, producing both those traditional cheeses lost during the restrictions of the second world war and original, flavourful creations. Despite the best efforts of the joyless food safety bureaucrat, many of these handmade cheeses are lusciously unpasteurised – savoury, pungent and complex.
I always thought the reason the first pancake turns out badly was something to do with the pan’s seasoning, but for this recipe I used a nonstick pan and the same thing happened. Driven to ‘the internet’ for an answer, I came across this. Apparently it’s due to improper heating and a lack of grease filling the pocks on the pan, which makes it smoother. I guess this applies, even to a nonstick pan. I am told the philosophical approach is to consider the first pancake the cook’s test run, used to check the temperature of the pan and to have a sneaky pre-dinner snack.
I think this dish would be extra lovely with a runny, soft-poached egg on top, which also matches the flavour profile of the dish. This would also add a little more saucy moisture to the dish which I think would be welcome. To read how to poach the perfect egg every time, see my post on this contentious topic here.
- 160g buckwheat flour
- 65g plain wholewheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 600ml milk
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt
- 45g roasted buckwheat groats, finely ground in a coffee grinder
- 2 tsp caraway seeds, toasted
- 2 tbsp butter, melted (or oil)
- 2 heads of cauliflower, cut into 2-3cm florets
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 400g mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 100ml nice white wine
- 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 100g Camembert
- 40g hazelnuts
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 100g salted butter
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Whisk together the flours, eggs, milk, salt and groats (I didn't have any groats, so substituted them for more buckwheat flour). Put the batter in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. I thought this batter looked a little thick when it had rested, but it cooked beautifully.
- An hour before you are ready to cook the galettes, bring the batter to room temperature. Heat a pan over a medium heat. With a paper towel, rub a little butter around the pan (I used olive oil), then ladle in the batter - about three-quarters of a regular-sized ladle per galette. Let the galette cook on one side - about 50 seconds on the first side, then flip and cook for about 40 seconds on the other, until both sides are lightly browned. Be careful not to overcook, as the galettes will be difficult to roll. Layer them on a plate and set it aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200c. Toss the florets in the oil, caraway and plenty of black pepper - save salting them until after they have cooked as salt draws out the moisture and makes it more difficult to caramelise them. Spread on a baking tray and cover with foil. Bake for 8 minutes to lightly steam the cauliflower, then remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes until browned in places. Set aside.
- In batches, dry sauté the mushrooms in a frying pan to sear and remove excess water. When all batches are browned, return all the mushrooms to the pan. Turn the heat down to very low and season, add the garlic, butter and white wine (use water or stock if preferred). Deglaze the pan to remove all the lovely, flavourful, caramelised mushroom residue, scraping as necessary. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated, but the mushrooms are still moist. Set aside.
- Roast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes (at the same time as you roast the cauliflower), skin by rubbing in a tea towel and lightly crush.
- Heat the butter in a very small pan over medium heat, swirling occasionally until browned - be careful not to overcook as burnt butter tastes acrid and horrible! Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts. When slightly cooled, add the lemon juice and season with pepper. If you used unsalted butter, salt to taste now.
- One at a time, lay a galette out flat and spread a generous amount of cauilflower and mushroom filling down the middle. You can either add the camembert to the vegetable filling now or reserve it to melt on the top, as in the picture. Roll the galette up and lay seam side down in a baking dish. Repeat (you may need more than one dish depending on how many you are serving and how big your dish is). Bake at 200c for about 10 minutes until heated through. If plating individually, remove from the dish, slice diagonally and arrange. Melt camembert if appropriate and drizzle over about one tablespoon of hazelnut butter per galette.
- All components can be cooked the day before and reheated.
- Galette yield is about twelve pieces. The number of servings depends on the course. We ate it as a main course and had three galettes each, but on reflection I think this dish would be better as a first course, in which case one or two galettes would be plenty and the recipe would serve six - twelve people.