Buckwheat galettes with spinach béchamel
Although you can find any kind of recipe online these days nothing beats a beautiful cookbook and the new Fern Verrow book by Herefordshire farmers Jane Scotter and Harry Astley is one you're definitely going to want to own.
This recipe comes from the spring section and it's good to be reminded what a delicious meal pancakes can make.
Scotter and Astley write: The nutty taste of buckwheat flour is key for these traditional French savoury pancakes. There are many different fillings, but we particularly like this one.
125g buckwheat flour
50g plain flour
a pinch of sea salt
25g butter, melted
For the spinach béchamel
500g spinach, tough stalks
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
a little grated nutmeg
40g plain flour
150ml double cream
100g Comté or Gruyère cheese,
sea salt and black pepper
Put the buckwheat flour, plain flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and whisk while you slowly add the milk and water. Keep whisking out any lumps as you gradually draw all the flour into the liquid. When the batter is smooth, stir in the melted butter. If you can, allow the batter to sit in the fridge for half an hour before you cook the galettes.
Meanwhile, prepare the spinach béchamel. Bring some salted water to the boil in the largest pan you have. When it is boiling rapidly, immerse the spinach in it for 30 seconds, using a pair of tongs to dunk the leaves so that they all soften. Drain the spinach through a colander and run some cold water over it until it is cool enough to handle. Squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can, then chop it up and set aside.
Put the milk, onion, bay leaf and nutmeg into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes or so. Then, in another saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook the roux over a gentle heat for a minute or two, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it starts to brown and smell nutty, then gradually strain the infused milk into it, whisking until the sauce thickens. Simmer for a few minutes, then add the cream and simmer for a minute or two longer.
Remove from the heat and stir in half the grated cheese plus the chopped spinach. Season to taste and set aside.
Next cook the galettes. Heat a 20cm frying pan or pancake pan over a medium heat and use a wad of paper towel to rub a little butter around it. Ladle in about 2 tablespoons of the batter, quickly lifting and tilting the pan to spread the batter evenly. Once the underside of the galette is brown, flip it over and cook for a minute or so longer, then transfer to a plate. Repeat the process, adjusting the heat and the cooking time until you find a good rhythm.
You can pile the galettes on top of each other as they’re done; they will not stick. You should have 8–10 galettes altogether.
Heat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5 and lightly butter a baking tray. Place a heaped tablespoon of the spinach béchamel in the centre of each galette and spread it out a little. Fold the galette in half and then in half again, so you end up with a triangle. Arrange the parcels snugly on the baking tray, add any remaining filling and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top. Bake for 10–15 minutes, until thoroughly heated through. Serve with a green salad.
What to drink: I prefer white wines to red with spinach and would probably go for a Chablis or a dry Italian white such as a Gavi
From Fern Verrow: a year of recipes from a farm and its kitchen by Jane Scotter and Harry Astley. Photography by Tess Traeger. Published by Quadrille at £25. You can buy their produce from the Spa Terminus in Bermondsey every Saturday. For more information visit fernverrow.com
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