You can tell that the authors of “Bacon Nation” live someplace other than Texas. In describing the fall setting of this rustic galette, teaming with butternut squash and bacon, Peter Kaminsky and Marie Rama conjure images of children playing in piles of fall leaves. That’s not San Antonio in October, but this dish would be welcome here any time of year.
“In the vegetable world, we think of butternut squash as a solid citizen, a food that serves as the dependable backbone of a recipe but becomes much more interesting when combined with deeply flavored ingredients,” they write. “This savory tart is a quintessentially autumn dish. The last tomatoes of summer, the ripe squash of autumn, the heartiness of bacon and the crispness of a flaky, free-form pie crust make for a find lunch or supper on an October weekend — whether it’s an Indian summer evening or a crisp afternoon when the fallen leaves want to be raked into piles that young children can’t resist diving into.”
In her cooking class at Central Market, Rama offered several substitutions to the squash filling, including … and a combination of caramelized onions with baking apples.
Bacon and Butternut Squash Galette
For the pastry dough:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons ice cold water
For the galette:
5 slices thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Olive oil, if necessary
1 3/4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into strips 2 inches by 1/2 inch long
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, cut in half, well rinsed and thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
1 medium-sized clove garlic, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Make the pastry dough: Combine the flour, butter, tarragon and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the cold water evenly over the mixture and pulse until the dough holds together. If necessary, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, and pulse a few more times, just until the dough holds together. Remove the dough from the food processor and gently press it into a 5-inch disk. Wrap the disk of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or as long as over night.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
While the dough chills, making the filling for the galette: Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned but not too crisp and most of the fat is rendered, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often and adjusting the heat as necessary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving the bacon fat in the skillet. You should have about 2 1/2 tablespoons of fat. If necessary, pour off enough fat or add enough olive oil to the skillet to measure 2 1/2 tablespoons.
Place the squash on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the skillet over the squash. Sprinkle the 1/4 teaspoon salt over the squash and season it with pepper to taste, tossing the squash to coat it with the bacon fat. Spread the squash out in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake it until golden brown around the edges, 16 to 18 minutes, turning the pieces once after about 8 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Heat the remaining bacon fat in the skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the leeks have softened and are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook, partially covered until the tomatoes and garlic have softened slightly, about 1 minute.
To assemble to galette, lightly flour a work surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the pastry dough out into a very thin 12- to 13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a large ungreased nonstick baking sheet. Arrange the squash in an even layer in the center of the round of dough, leaving about a 1- to 1 1/2-inch boarder of dough bare. Distribute the leek and tomato mixture evenly over the squash. Sprinkle the drained bacon evenly over the vegetables. Fold the border of dough as necessary where the edges overlap. Brush the dough with the beaten egg white (you don’t need to use it all) and bake the galette until the crust is cooked through and golden at the edges, 30 to 35 minutes.
Place the baking sheet with the galette on a wire rack and let it cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Serves 8 as a side dish.
From “Bacon Nation” by Peter Kaminsky and Marie Rama