Does the word "potluck" give you the willies and conjure up memories of no-effort dishes that are tasteless? How about if I say it in French? ... "un diner à la fortune du pot"... sounds much better doesn't it? A couple weeks ago we went to a potluck brunch after church and I must admit I was very pleasantly surprised. The food was down right delicious. There was a showing of many savory egg dishes and freshly baked coffee cakes and pies. Now, I'm not looking down my nose at those who stopped at the grocery store on the way there and picked up something pre-made... I've been there in life and sometimes that is all you can pull off or even all you want to pull off. The true point of "un diner à la fortune de pot" is to bring people together to share a meal and fellowship. And that is precisely what we did. A good time was had by all.
My contribution was a "galette aux tomates et au chèvre", a rustic tart of tomatoes, caramelized onions, spinach and goat cheese. A galette in France refers to a rustic freeform tart. They are extremely simple to make and the ingredients are only limited by your imagination. Perfect for a simple meal or dining "à la bonne franquette." Some people translate this French term to mean "potluck" but actually this expression refers to eating a simple meal, not necessarily one where everyone is bringing a dish.
I recently finished reading the excellent book, "Blood, Bones, and Butter, The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef." The author, Gabrielle Hamilton, humorously expresses her distaste for a "potluck" by calling them "soul-deadening" and she says you often end up with seven variations of the same dish. She further says, "And even the one guest who was thoughtful enough to prepare something expensive, complex, and warm - like curried shrimp- even that person has no idea how to cook for a potluck, and so eighteen people stand around the little quart container of the only dish that has any protein and any flavor and try to get a tablespoon before it is all gone."
My advice would be, do not go to a "potluck" for the fine dining but go for the camaraderie, and hopefully you will be delightfully surprised as I was. (But go through the line first, just in case.)
I have added a new feature. My recipes are now printer ready with a simple click! See below.
Blood, Bones & Butter, The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef... a very enjoyable "foodie" book by Gabrielle Hamilton. It is colorfully and superbly written.
Galette aux Tomates et au Chèvre
pâte brisée- basic pastry dough - click here
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
5 cups spinach
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes sliced in half
4 ounces goat cheese
1 egg white, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Roll out dough on a floured surface into a 13" circle. Do not force or stretch the dough. Transfer the dough to a cookie sheet either lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Sauté the thinly sliced onions with the olive oil until soft and translucent. Stir in the fresh thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in another bowl. Add the fresh spinach to the pan with another tablespoon olive oil. Cook until just wilted.
Place the caramelized onions in the center of the dough and spread out so that there is about a 2 inch border showing. Crumble the goat cheese over the top of that and then spread the spinach on top of the goat cheese. Arrange the tomato halves on the spinach and lightly salt and pepper. Fold over the edges of the dough (making 5 folds, one fold at a time) and pressing lightly on the corners to gently seal the tart. Brush the beaten egg white on the 2" dough border. Bake for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Click here for printable recipe.
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