Readers are probably aware that the vegetable known in many countries as “zucchini”, here in the UK we call “courgette” . Besides being a Brit I had to keep the British (originally French) word for this recipe for the nice little ring to my recipe title!
It began with a bag of chestnut flour, a kind gift from an Italian friend who I cook with occasionally. He taught me to make castagnaccio, the traditional Tuscan (naturally vegan) cake made with chestnut flour, olive oil, rosemary, sultanas + walnuts or pine nuts. I love the stuff but I make my castagnaccio small and thin so my bag of flour has hardly been dented.
Looking for more chestnut flour recipes I stumbled across one which I’ve veganized here. The chestnut flour does have a wonderful taste, sweet and rich, but as it’s combined with other flours and ground toasted hazelnuts you could certainly sub another- I’d still recommend something equally flavourful, maybe spelt or buckwheat, or the original recipe suggests millet flour as another option.
The nutty crust encloses layers of sweet caramelized onions, tangy goat’s cheese and herby courgettes and there are even minced fresh herbs in the dough.
In place of the goat’s cheese I decided upon a cashew-based cheese. This recipe at C’est la Vegan had rave reviews and I’d made it before but unbaked, this time I went the whole hog and baked it so it would crumble nicely over the tart and in-between the layers.
Mixing up my dough
Ready to go in the fridge for a little resting time
Sliced courgettes and fresh garden mint
Herby Courgette Galette with Cashew Chèvre:
Adapted from Frenchie and the Yankie
1/2C Whole hazelnuts (to give 3/4C ground)
1/2C Chestnut flour
1/2C Wheat flour
3/4 C Whole wheat flour
3 Sprigs Rosemary
1/4C Olive oil
Lay hazelnuts on a baking tray and toast at 180C/350F for approx 10mins (careful they don’t burn!). Wrap in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously together to remove most of their skins.
Leave to cool while you measure out the other dry ingredients into a large bowl. Pulse the nuts in a food processor with the rosemary until coarsely ground (you still want a little texture).
Add ground nuts to the bowl with the other dry ingredients and mix well. Make a well in the middle, pour in oil and gradually add water bit by bit until you can form the mixture into a ball. You might not need all of the water.
Wrap up the ball of dough and refrigerate for at least an hour. N.b. Remove from fridge to come to room temperature 30 mins before rolling it.
1T Olive oil
1 Large onion, very thinly sliced
Good pinch of salt
Heat oil over medium-low heat in a large frying pan and add onions. Cook gently for approx 5 minutes until beginning to soften, then sprinkle over sugar and salt. Spread into a thin layer and continue to cook on low for a further 20 minutes, stirring frequently. The onions should be nice and caramelized and again may need more or less cooking time depending on your stove/pan etc.
Set aside in a bowl.
2 Medium courgettes, thinly sliced (1/2 cm)
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1t Dried oregano (or 1T fresh if you can get it)
1T Finely chopped rosemary
Using onion pan cook garlic and herbs for a couple of minutes over medium heat.
Toss in courgettes and spread in a single layer. Cook for a few minutes before flipping and cooking on the other side. Remove from heat when beginning to soften but still crisp.
Putting Galette together
You will need your dough, caramelized onions, courgettes, 1/2 Recipe Cashew Chèvre ( I made the whole recipe and had some leftover, but use as much as you like), fresh mint.
Roll out dough to a circle approx 30cm in diameter on a large piece of parchment paper. Don’t worry if the edges are a little rough, it’s supposed to be rustic-looking!
Spread caramelized onions over, leaving a border of 1-2 inches. Next crumble over half your chèvre. Finally, arrange courgette slices working in overlapping circles, covering onions and chèvre. Fold edges over courgette, crimping as you go.
Lift up sides of parchment paper and place the whole thing on a large baking tray.
Put it back in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Cook galette for 30 minutes- edges should be golden and crunchy.
Leave to sit for a few minutes (if you have the patience…), sprinkle over remaining chèvre and mint leaves.
This turned out far better than I could have imagined, and although there are a few stages so it does takes some time, it was so worth it. I’m also sort of presuming that if you’re reading you probably like to spend time in the kitchen too!
So, who out there has used chestnut flour before? More ideas very welcome.
Digging into my bag has reminded me I need to get in touch with my Italian friend and organize another cooking session… Maybe I’ll pick up some traditional Italian recipes to share on the blog!