How did the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission know we are growing our own sweet potatoes?
I just received an e-mail urging me to enter a "bloggers recipe contest" sponsored by the sweet potato commission. I might have blown it off, but the reward for best recipe is $1,000. That got me thinking maybe I should post one of our favorite methods for putting sweet potatoes on the dinner table--this sweet potato galette.
A potato galette in the French country style traditionally is made with standard potatoes. But we love sweet potatoes--they are so nutritious and full of flavor--and now we harvest them out of our own kitchen garden, right here in the District of Columbia about a mile from the White House. One day I was trying to think of a way to incorporate sweet potatoes with something else we grow plenty of: greens. And to continue the local theme, I decided to add one of our favorite Maryland cheeses. Why not layer them all together? The sweet potato galette was born.
To make the galette, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Coat the bottom of a well-seasoned, cast-iron skillet with extra virgin olive oil and place it over moderate heat. Peel three large sweet potatoes and slice them into thin rounds. (A mandoline makes quick work of this.) Shingle the rounds to cover the bottom of the skillet. The bottom-most potatoes will begin to cook and brown while you are assembling the rest. Between each layer, dot the potatoes with cooked greens, such as mustard greens or kale or collard greens. Or, better yet, a combination of greens. You will need about one pound of cooked greens total.
Alternate layers of cheese. I've used a soft Gorgonzola in the past. But for a strictly local galette, I bought a piece of blue goat's milk cheese from Firefly Farms in Bittinger, MD. Firefly is one of the regular vendors at the Dupont Circle market. Between each layer, after you've capped it off with more potatoes, press down very firmly with a flat object, such as a pot lid or another skillet. Then season with olive oil, salt and black pepper.
Continue layering the galette until the skillet is nearly filled to the top. Place in the oven and bake until the potatoes are easily pierced with a metal trussing skewer, about 20 minutes. Remove the skillet and allow the galette to cool. To remove the galette from the skillet, use a knife or spatula to cut around the edge, then invert it onto a large plate or cutting board.
This galette is delicious warm or even at room temperature, and it can easily be made ahead and reheated. The sweetness of the potatoes seems to meld exceptionally well with the pungency of the cheese and the pleasant bitterness of the greens. Try it with your favorite local salad and a crisp glass of Chablis. Or if you've got a particular hankering for meat, this galette would be an ideal partner for a juicy pork roast.