Fresh off my Harissa Shrimp and Beans I’ve got a Cauliflower Galette with Labneh, Pickled Raisins, and Harissa. There’s that word again harissa. It seems I’m a bit like a kid with a new toy. I bought a couple of tubes of harissa paste and I can’t resist squeezing some into almost anything.
Including a pie! Well, a galette actually.
The Joy of the Kitchen
Times are tough right now and I think many of us are relearning the joy in the simple things that keep us tied to home. If this pandemic has taught me anything it’s that I can’t (I won’t) give up on joy.
One place I find joy is in the kitchen. I realize the kitchen has developed a reputation as a thankless task-master. I recognize that not all kitchen chores are fun. I don’t like peeling garlic. Sometimes I have to look the other way when dealing with raw meat. I’d rather pay someone to clean my oven and no matter how hard I try and can’t keep my kitchen floor up to snuff.
But for every one of those tasks, there are two or three (or more) reasons why I love seeking refuge in the kitchen. This Cauliflower Galette is proof.
There are a lot of things to like about this “pie”. First, there’s my newfound interest in harissa. Rich with garlic and complex spices it’s an easy way to add zip to most anything savory.
Labneh is another element in the recipe that’s been intriguing me lately. In case you’re unfamiliar, labneh is a soft cheese with a smooth texture similar to cream cheese. It’s made from strained yogurt and is very popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. Don’t be confused by its many spellings. Lebneh, lebnah, labaneh, labane, labne, and labni are all labneh.
Then there are the simple sweet & sour golden raisins. They add just the right counterbalance. Without them, this pie might become a bit too heavy in the mouth.
The Joy of Pastry
But let’s face it: a Cauliflower Galette is – as I’ve been hinting – a pie. The most casual pie you can imagine. The pastry comes together effortlessly. It rolls out beautifully. No crimping or fussy lattice-work involved.
What I’m saying is that it’s the pastry in this recipe that brings me the greatest joy. Whether it’s used in pie, or in something more rustic and fundamental, I enjoy working with pastry dough.
I always fear that people make pie dough way too complicated. So I have included the basic recipe from my book Savory Pies. But trust me. Once you’ve made a few pies you won’t need a recipe. You’ll learn to recognize what makes the dough work – because your climate, your kitchen, even your hands play a role in the making of one of the kitchen’s simplest pleasures.
But I’m not here to teach you how to make pie dough. I just want to remind you that the kitchen can be a joyful place to work. I think this Cauliflower Galette proves my point. GREG