Galette stars in intimate meal

Entertaining

Entertaining: Dinner for only three means last-minute dishes are doable.

Sunday Gourmet

April 09, 2000|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Next week a friend is planning to come for an overnight visit, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to plan a menu for such a small gathering. When entertaining no more than four, you can do last-minute dishes and not be so stressed.

For our supper, I have decided to start with a light cream of watercress soup, followed by broiled lamb chops, a Potato and Herbed Cheese Galette and blanched asparagus. For dessert, there will be homemade dried cherry and ginger biscotti served with vanilla bean ice cream bought from a local store.

The most interesting dish of the night will be the Potato and Herbed Cheese Galette, which will require last-minute attention. To make the galette, I place a layer of peeled, grated baking potatoes in a saute pan and top them with creamy herbed cheese (Boursin is my favorite) and chopped green onions. Then I add another layer of potatoes. The galette, cooked on both sides until golden-brown, is served with a garnish of chopped chives. The golden potato pancake, crispy on the outside with a surprise filling of melted cheese inside, is irresistible.

If you'd like to serve this dish to a larger group, you can prepare one pancake and keep it warm in the oven while you assemble another.

Potato and Herbed Cheese Galette

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes

3 tablespoons oil

kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 to 3 ounces soft herbed cheese (such as Boursin), broken into small pieces

3 green onions, whites and 2 inches of green stems sliced into 1/2 -inch pieces

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Peel potatoes and grate in food processor or with hand grater. Place potatoes in clean kitchen towel and wring out as much liquid as possible.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in 9-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, pat half of grated potatoes into skillet in even layer. Season generously with salt and pepper. Scatter cheese over potatoes, then sprinkle with green onions. Pat remaining potatoes over top to form even layer. Salt and pepper generously again. Cook until crispy and golden on bottom, 5 to 6 minutes. (Check to see how bottom is browning by lifting galette gently with metal spatula.)

Using 1 or 2 metal spatulas, carefully slide galette onto unrimmed baking sheet. Add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to same skillet over medium heat. Gently turn galette over and slide back into skillet. Salt and pepper galette. Cook until bottom side is crispy and golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from skillet with 2 spatulas.

If not serving immediately, place galette on unrimmed baking sheet and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Place in 300-degree oven for up to 30 minutes.

To serve, arrange galette on serving plate and sprinkle with chives. Cut into 4 wedges.

Note: This galette is best when served within 30 minutes of being made. However, if you are uncomfortable preparing this dish at the last minute, you can cook it 2 hours ahead, cover loosely with foil and leave at cool room temperature. Reheat, uncovered, on baking sheet in oven at 350 degrees until warm and crispy, about 10 minutes.

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